3 Things Not to Do for Raising a Smart Kid

Good parents allow their kids time and mental space.

Posted Aug 04, 2011

Girl with bow

1. Don't rave about your child's early art work. When you're shown a drawing, if you say, "Wow, that's great!" you're actually inhibiting her intrinsic drive to create. You're making her dependent on your judgment and approval. Better to let her know it's what she thinks about what she's done that matters. Otherwise she'll grow up thinking that if she doesn't succeed at first, she might as well quit. Instead say, "Tell me something about this bit over here," or "This picture really looks like you had fun making it."

2. Don't suddenly interrupt your kid's games or hobbies for dinner or homework. When you pull her away from something she's deeply involved in, you're breaking her flow and you're actually training her to have a shorter attention span. Instead, work out a schedule with her so she knows when it's time for eating or homework. Help her learn to take charge of her own enthusiasms. It's the best way for her to be self-motivated. At least, give her plenty of warning that it's dinnertime or homework time.

3. Don't always focus on the "right answer." Whether you're helping with homework or talking about what's going on the world or simply planning a birthday party, brainstorm. Ask your child to come up with as many possibilities as she can, the more way-out the better. By showing you value creativity, you enhance her brainpower and give her tools for an enriched life. Then go over the choices for action and choose the best -- that shows the role of analytical thinking -- but you need many fresh choices to find the best one.

Copyright (c) by Susan K. Perry