The Science of Raising Happily Productive Kids: A Podcast

Practical ideas for parents wanting to support their kids' optimal development

Posted Feb 11, 2015

What is intelligence? What is creativity? What do we know about supporting children’s optimal development? How can parents actually use the science that’s accumulating on these topics? These are some of the questions I addressed with Joanne Foster in Beyond Intelligence: Secrets for Raising Happily Productive Kids, and they formed the basis of my recent interview with Scott Barry Kaufman for "The Psychology Podcast."

As you’ll hear in this podcast, I thoroughly enjoyed the interview Scott conducted with me. His questions were thoughtful and well-informed, and although the topics were serious, laughter and good humour punctuated the discussion. We touched on many controversial ideas, including whether there is an innate dimension to intelligence and talent, whether it’s a good idea or a bad one to give a kid a label like "gifted" or "learning disabled," and the extent to which young children need opportunities for free unstructured play. 

Scott’s an expert at putting his interview subjects at ease. I found myself expressing my opinions here more directly, and with fewer reservations, than my academic training would normally allow. I talked about my aversion to the concept of "potential," citing Carol Dweck’s work demonstrating that telling kids they’re brilliant can undermine their achievement. During this interview, I talked about the damage that’s done by well-meaning adults who hold common misconceptions about the nature of intelligence, most especially those who see it as innate and fixed. I talked about how important the environment is in supporting kids in developing their creativity and intelligence, and I gave some practical tips for parents who want to nurture their children’s happy productivity.

Scott Barry Kaufman is Scientific Director of The Imagination Institute and a researcher in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. A psychologist who thinks, writes, and teaches about creativity and intelligence, Kaufman recently created "The Psychology Podcast" as a forum for interviewing a wide range of experts in these areas and looks for controversial angles in their work. For example, in his interview with Amy Alkon, he considers the evolutionary roots of modern rudeness and ways in which people can make the world a friendlier place. With Kent Kiehl, he discusses what it’s like to be a psychopath. With Todd Kashdan, he discusses dancing with the dark side of one’s personality.

For more of Scott Barry Kaufman’s podcasts, go to

For more of my thoughts and work on intelligence and creativity, go to

The Psychology Podcast
The Psychology Podcast