More effective is to praise a child for effort. “You’re so smart!” doesn’t suggest what to do next time; “Wow, you kept working on that math problem until you got it right!” carries a clear message about the desired behavior. Communicating high but achievable expectations confers tools for real success — the best route to true self-esteem.
An internally motivated approach to building self-control plays to traditional American strengths. Being self-motivated may lead to other positive long-term consequences as well, like independence of thought and willingness to speak out.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Teaching Self-Control, the American Way - NYTimes.com: