Parenting: Praising Children, Raising an Intelligent Child

Our children’s portraits can be seen at

My good friend, Pam, emailed me a link to a New York Magazine article about praising children called, How Not to Talk to Your Kids; The Inverse Power of Praise, and I really think it should be part of every parent’s reading list. I’m sure glad that she emailed it to me.

Child Portraits

The article, written by Po Bronson, brilliantly describes a study by psychologist Carol Dweckwho explored how praise affects children. Dweck studied the difference between praising a child for their intelligence or praising a child for their efforts. Now, that may seem like a little discrepancy, but Dweck found that there was a huge difference in performance, frustration and hope for each child.

After reading this article I realized that I was guilty of praising my children’s natural smarts a bit too much. I then altered my verbiage slightly with my children to reflect their trying hard and working hard to produce intelligence. I have noticed a definite difference. Not only are we more active at the family table drawing and talking about educational things, but there is more harmony.

Interestingly, I made the realization that my mother has always praised me for working hard. It’s funny when you realize that your mother knew it all along, and that she guided you and nurtured you to the person you are today.

Mother and Child Portrait, Children’s Portraits

My mother produced a daughter who has always made a big effort. I never realized until now that she did this because I have been too busy working hard. Not only do I work hard daily at being a good parent, but I work daily at being a good photographer. Does it work? I hope it does. All I know is that I have always been driven and happy.

Thank you mother. Happy Mothers Day.

Our child portraits, which include mother and child portraits, can be seen at

Written by Linnea Lenkus

Linnea Lenkus

Linnea Lenkus has been a photographer for over 20 years. She specializes in studio photography in Southern California, having a portrait studio in Long Beach that is equidistant to Orange County and Los Angeles County. She is well known for her finer lighting techniques, the authentic feeling of her poses and for exceptional maternity, baby and family portrait photography.