Positive Parenting Newsfeed—a Child Trends Project—is Supported by the National Science Foundation

Believe To Achieve

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Ever heard the phrase: What you believe, you’ll achieve? There could be some truth to that when it comes to kids and academics.

Extra studying and private tutoring can help kids perform better in school. But could the real key to academic success be how students see themselves? Developmental psychologists in Chile and the University of Michigan studied nearly 14,000 British children and more than 1,500 American kids ages five to 18. They found students’ self-concept – how they perceived their abilities in math and reading – predicted later academic achievement. In other words, students who had a better self-concept in each subject performed better in that area later on. This link was seen in kids of all different levels.

To help improve your child’s self-identity, teach them how to do things, but let them make mistakes after you’ve helped them a few times. Praise them but do it the right way. Praise their effort instead of fixed qualities or results. So saying: “I like how hard you worked on this project” is better than: “Wow, you’re so smart.” Also, pay attention to what your child does well and try to focus on their strengths.

This study took the children’s academic achievement into account as well as other factors, such as backgrounds, race, birth weight, gender, age, and their mother’s education.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Julie Marks, Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, News Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 

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