Brain Rules: The #1 mistake parents make with praise (VIDEO): "Rather than praising him for being smart, they should have praised him for working hard. On the successful completion of a test, they should not have said, 'I'm so proud of you. You're so smart.' They should have said, 'I'm so proud of you. You must have really studied hard.' Big difference. This appeals to your child's controllable effort rather than to mysterious, unchangeable talent. It's called 'growth mindset' praise"