Please Stop Telling My Kid He’s Smart

Dear World, 

let’s talk. I’ve been spending hours upon hours on character training, talking about kindness, respect, reading books that model healthy social relationships, and you seem insistent on highlighting my kid’s intelligence.

We know he’s smart.

He knows he’s smart. He’s been told since he was 1. In fact, he’s overconfident in his own abilities.

Every time someone plays the “smart” card, that reinforces that he needs to show off his intelligence for people, which is not what we want him to do. At 4, it was cute. At 6, it’s sometimes cute. Soon it’ll be obnoxious.

You know what you could say instead? Maybe something that can be learned, practiced, that helps others.


Respect or concern for others.





Solid work ethic.



These are the things we value and want him to value as well. 

Thanks. I really do appreciate your taking the time and wanting to say something nice to my son.  He’s more than his brain, and I’d love your help getting that message across. 

4 Comments Add yours

  1. lardavbern says:

    Yeah, intelligence is great but other traits are also valuable and in some ways more. I’ve read it’s important to praise effort.


    1. Heather says:

      Exactly! I’ve read that too – that kids who are told they’re smart actually have trouble later on because they’re afraid to ask for help and risk letting others know they don’t have all the answers!

      Liked by 1 person

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