The killer phrase you should never say to your kids – if you don’t want them to be lazy or to lose their perseverance grit!

The killer phrase you should never say to your kids

Some children may seem bright on the outside, but they just couldn’t seem to motivate themselves when it comes to studies. Thus, it’s not rare to see smart kids with lower than expected performance in school. This is akin to the story of the rabbit and tortoise, whereby people who perceive themselves to be talented individuals tend to be lackadaisical. In return, they would wake up one day to find that they had achieved nothing in their lives. While smart kids tend to be seen as having a brighter future prospect, some tends to be lazy and lack of self-motivation. Their resistance to work hard poses a concerning issue for most parents. What if we told you that their inability to work hard in school could be caused by the parents, would you believe us?

‘Our child is particularly smart, but he doesn’t seem to concentrate well in school. If he is serious, I am sure that he could get good grades!’ Does this statement seem awfully familiar to you? There are more similar statements as well, such as: ‘He knows how to do it, but he is somehow careless at it’ or ‘I’m pretty but I can’t control my diet. I’ll definitely look hot like a movie star if I slim down!’

These statements may seem like words of praise and encouragement, but you would be staggered at how these words destroyed the futures of children, just to appease their parents. If you are somehow offended by any children, you could talk to them in this manner. Numerous people became entrapped in their own ambitions after believing such statements, but they still have a difficult life as they are unwilling to work towards their dreams.

Take the youngest sibling for example, don’t you think they feel more confident (or even proud) in themselves as compared to their brothers and sisters? After hearing such statements from their parents repetitively, they tend to parroting the same statement to others too,” Well, I chose not to study hard because I don’t feel like to! Otherwise, I’ll definitely be smarter than my sis! Even with her (low) IQ, she got into university! If I were to study for it, I’ll be top student by then” Well, everyone knows that getting into a university does not depend on intelligence alone. If the parents did not say as such, then maybe he would not think greatly of himself.

Well, why would this type of comforting statements bring such harm?

  1. This misleads children to think that being inherently smart is more valuable than hard work, and intelligence is seen as superior over putting in the required effort.

Children who grew up with the mindset of ‘I normally do not focus on my studies; but when I do, I will certainly score better’ would easily adapt a performance personality. They are very dependent on the praise of others as a source of motivation, otherwise, they would refuse to do their best. Their results are average as best, but they are unable to score well. Even so, they belittle others who study hard day and night.

Their mentality is: I have yet to put my best effort forward. If I do, I can surpass my peers easily. The truth is: they are never able to do their best, as they need to maintain their status quo of ‘not concentrating in studies but able to obtain good results’. More importantly, they are worried about failing to become the top performer even after they exerted their best.

Once, a korean drama pictured a female student who was afraid of exams and admitted that “All this life I had not done my best to strive forward. I am afraid that I might fail after all that effort, and that would make me look bad.”

When children are labeled as ‘smart’, they become more afraid of hard work because they fear, deep down, that the hard work might not grant them their desired results. This would make them feel embarrassed to realize that they are only average, that they could not obtain results even after trying.


  1. This statement made parents fail to realize their laziness in guiding their children

Why do parents and teachers love to say this to the children? In simple terms, if our children do not perform well, does it mean that he/she is silly? By boasting your own child to be smart or genetically superior, it would make us feel comforted and proud at the same time. “My child might be smart, but he is cheeky and loves to play. Once my kids could properly knuckle down and study, they would certainly perform much better than yours.”

We are not trying to imply that your child is not smart, but we are concerned about you destroying your child’s wisdom. A clever child that is incapable of learning well is, to some extent, caused by the parents. Because children are naturally lazy and need adult guidance and supervision. Parents who write off the unsatisfactory performance of their child with a simple sentence of ‘he did not put in any effort’ indicates a poor understanding of the child’s thinking and feelings. To assist in the child’s learning, parents should spend time and make effort to understand their children well. Otherwise, it’s not surprising that children will not learn to ‘put in every effort’.

Smarts is indeed a gift of God, but without proper development, it would only serve as an ornament devoid of usability.

Watching tablet


  1. Each child is different; they require different guidance methods

“My child is brilliant, but he just could not concentrate on his studies. If he is focused, I am sure his results would be exceptional.” This might be suitable for children with an inferiority complex, but for others who are arrogant, it would be a connivance for him. For the latter, be sure to teach him the importance and the rewards of hard work, focus, and being attentive. Being smart does not need encouragement, but being attentiveness is a worthy characteristic to develop.

Today, there is no shortage of smart people, but sadly, not as many attentive people. Parents might feel that their children are smart, but they do not realize that focus and being serious are the decisive factors in accomplishing a task.

So, how do we nurture our children with the value of being diligent?

Lots of children with the ‘smart but lazy’ mindset tend to suffer more when they grow older as they simply could not cope with hard work. Day by day, after this destructive mindset had become deep-rooted within the child, it is more difficult for them to correct it.

Everyone has beautiful dreams about life, but some people could not achieve their goals, partly because they lack the ability to concentrate and persist for a long time. They easily become lazy and are unable to maintain their efforts, which are terrible habits. One day, they would discover that those who persevere every day is able of obtaining true wisdom.

You could instead make some alterations to the way you speak:

  1. Winning is about 70% hard work and 30% up to luck,
  2. Everyone in the world may lie, but sweat would not.
  3. Smarts is never intended to be your weapon for long, you should rely on effort as your best friend.
  4. IQ decides the minimum, effort determines the ceiling of your achievements.
  5. Talents alone don’t bring you to the top, but diligence do.
  6. The smartest people in the world are only those who had expended their efforts.


And of course, by asking kids to work hard without showing them on what actual “hard work” is like, it will not be much help to the kids either.


Parents should lead by example and take the initiative to help their own children

Hard work encapsulates many little details, meticulousness, patience, perseverance, resistance against temptation, obstacles dealing, etc. Each of these needs to be done well on its own.

Perhaps some parents had never put in hard work to accomplish something themselves, so they are unsure what is considered as ‘hard work’ as well. When this caliber of parents instructs their children to do their best in an activity such as reading, learning how to play the piano, dancing, and others. Had the parents tried any of these activities before? (It is simply impossible to laze on the sofa watching your favorite dramas or playing computer games while asking your child to give up on their fun and work, right? Just think about how your child will feel. )

Parents need to preach what they teach. Without any hard work, simply relying on smarts is insufficient. Parents themselves should also make effort to guide their kids well.

A person’s grit is an important quality of a person, only then you will be handsomely rewarded for your efforts.

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Translated from: 【妈妈必看】孩子不努力、不懂得持之以恒都是因为这句话!

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