The new parenting wisdom is that we shouldn’t call our kids smart. We should say, “You worked hard!” instead. The new research says that, “Praise that was vague, insincere, or excessive tended to discourage kids from working hard and trying new things. It had a toxic effect, the opposite of what parents intended. To work, praise had to be specific , authentic, and rare.”

Okay, when my son works hard at something, I tell him he worked hard. Whe gets the right answer on a math problem, I don’t say, “That was smart of you to get the right answer!” Smarts had nothing to do with it. Doing the work was what got the right answer.

However…..Smart? Yes, I call my son smart. Because you know what? He IS smart. And I want him to know it. He is smart like every kid in his class, every kid in his school (including in special education), and every kid on earth. God gave him brains, and I want him to know that.

If I don’t tell him he is smart, other people are not going to rush to do it. So I want him to know he has an absolutely fantastic thinking machine in his head and can do amazing things with it. No, he is not special in that he is smarter than everybody else. But he is definitely SMART in his own way.

When he grows up, I want him to remember that his mother said to him, “You are so smart.” In addition to, “You achieved that because you are a hard worker.” Both are important things to say to our children.

Quote from: “The Smart Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way”