A Project of the Child Trends News Service Supported by the National Science Foundation

Better for Kids to Give or Receive Advice

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — From school…to sports…to relationships…parents are always giving their kids feedback and pointers. But a new study shows what motivates children may not be the advice you give, but the advice they give.

Is it better for kids to give advice or receive it? According to a new study, preteens might be more motivated to change their behaviors when they’re the ones giving the guidance. Researchers examined about 300 middle school-age students. Half received motivational advice from their teachers to help them learn vocabulary. The other half wrote letters to younger fourth grade students, giving them advice on how they could motivate themselves to study vocabulary.

After four weeks, the students who wrote the letters of advice spent more time on vocabulary homework compared to the ones who received advice. The scientists conducted other experiments in adults and found those who gave advice were more inspired to save money, lose weight, seek employment, and control their tempers. So, the next time you’re tempted to give your children advice, you might want to ask them for some tips.

The scientists theorize that giving advice boosts confidence, which can be motivating for kids and adults too! Also, advice-giving forces individuals to search through their memories and come up with past successful behaviors, which they could use again.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Julie Marks, Writer; 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. 

(Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30281402)

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