This expert has studied parenting for 20 years: this is the advice she gives to parents


As a psychologist, I have been studying how to care for and raise good human beings for almost 20 years. The overlooked skill that I always advise new parents to teach their children is inner effectiveness.

Inner efficacy is a person’s belief in their own ability to do what is necessary in order to achieve their goals. Self-esteem may say, “I’m amazing!”, but inner efficacy says, “I have what it takes to accomplish this and achieve what I set out to do.”

Children with a strong sense of inner efficacy are more likely to challenge themselves and push themselves. Instead of blaming their failures on external circumstances or a lack of talent, they will focus on factors that are within their control.

Studies show that children gain inner efficacy from four sources:

Children with a strong sense of inner efficacy are more likely to challenge themselves and push themselves. Getty Images

1. The experience of doing things well

For this to happen, children have to face challenges of the appropriate level. Pushing them into educational experiences for which they are not prepared can be counterproductive.

Whenever they worry about not being able to do something, you can encourage a growth mindset by telling them, “You’re not there yet.”

2. Seeing others do well

It is important for children to see others who they consider similar to them, at least in some specific ways (such as age, race or ethnicity, gender identity, interests), achieve similar goals.

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The colleagues you use as a reference They don’t have to be people exactly like our son.but seeing a much older child, of a different race and gender, get something may not have the same effect.

3. Remember that we have experience doing things well

The stories we tell ourselves about the past create our sense of capability for the future.

Studies show that people who lean toward optimism, have a growth mindset, and believe in themselves tend not to have past experiences that are so different from their pessimistic peers. They simply remember the successes more vividly than the failures.

4. A feeling of calm in their bodies

If children feel stressed, dizzy or anxious when faced with challenges, it may be difficult for them to act without first addressing that physiological response.

Teaching our children calming techniques, such as conscious breathing, will help them a lot to be competent in whatever they set out to do.

How to help children develop their inner effectiveness

  • They should be encouraged to try something they are not immediately good at:

Instead of saying “practice is key,” because we know that’s not always true—and we’re not really looking for perfection—remind your child that “effort is the source of evolution”.

  • Clarify to correct:

Don’t just mark mistakes with a red pen and say, “You’re wrong again.” Instead, try repeating, rephrasing, changing the question, clarifying instructions, and reviewing previously learned skills.

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Even with young children who point to a red apple and say “blue,” you can tell them, “Oh yeah, blueberries are blue, and this is a red apple,” rather than just correcting them or saying, “That’s not the right one.” blue color, stupid.”

  • Praise with specificity when deserved:

When we say “good job!” It has to be sincere and specific. Let children know when you recognize their true effort, persistence, creativity, independence and competence.

You don’t have to completely erase “good job” from your vocabulary. Just add a little more detail, such as: “You did a good job applying that chess opening you just learned.”

  • Point out the strategy.

Help children draw the line between action and achievement. If your child does a good job writing up something he or she outlined, for example, you can say, “I noticed that you outlined something. I’m sure that’s one of the reasons you did so well.”

Or, alternatively, you can say, “I notice that you haven’t made an outline. It can be really difficult to write a text when you don’t have a plan. Let’s try writing one together.”

When children understand that their failures are not due to permanent limitations, doors open to future achievements.