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Mother’s Daily Person and Process Praise: Implications for Children’s Theory of Intelligence and Motivation

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Previously, child-rearing experts believed that all praise enhanced children’s emotional and psychological well being (Brummelman et al., 2014). However, the present study highlights that giving different types of praises can impact the development of a child’s theory of intelligence and how adaptive their responses to challenges are. Hence, the quote by Ginott (1965): “Praise, like penicillin, must not be administered haphazardly.”
Strengths of the current study
Predominantly, experimental research was used to investigate how person and process praise shape children’s theory of intelligence, their subsequent motivation and achievement. In such research, a stranger administered different types of praise, and causality could be established. Laboratory findings revealed that person praise led to an entity theory and performance goals, while process praise led to an incremental theory and mastery goals. (Mueller & Dweck, 1998) However, such research is inadequate. Firstly, little research has focused on the social context of children’s daily interactions with significant others, limiting the ecological validity and generalizability of these findings. Secondly, since mothers are core attachment figures and salient socializing influences in childhood (Bretherton et al., 1997), mother’s daily praise may have a stronger, more lasting influence on children’s theory of intelligence as compared to a single stranger’s praise in a laboratory study. Hence, this study contributed uniquely to literature by addressing these two limitations ny exploring person and process praise in a central socialization context and through mother’s daily praise.
Furthermore, the findings suggests potential everyday practices that could aid the development of m...


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... ability, perceptions of academic attainment, and the understanding that difficult tasks require more ability. Child Development, 49, 800–814.
Nolen-Hoeksema, S., Wolfson, A., Mumme, D., & Guskin, K. (1995). Helplessness in children of depressed and nondepressed mothers. Developmental Psychology, 31, 377–387.
Pomerantz, E.M. & Kempner, S.G. (2013). Mothers' daily person and process praise: implications for children's theory of intelligence and motivation. Developmental Psychology. Advance online publication.

Pomerantz, E, M., Wang, Q.; Ng, F. F. (2005). Mothers' Affect in the Homework Context: The Importance of Staying Positive. Developmental Psychology, 41(2), 414-427.

Stevenson, H., & Lee, S. (1990). Contexts of achievement: A study of American, Chinese, and Japanese children. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 55 (12, Serial No. 221).



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