One of the questions that comes up often is about talking to kids–specifically, how do you encourage them along? The simple and surprising answer from the research is to praise them for their effort, not their innate skill. The reason, as Carol Dweck explains, is that when you praise for skill, kids tend to react by protecting their status — they don’t want to take risks that might harm their standing. When you praise for effort, on the other hand, kids tend to react by taking on more challenging tasks, making mistakes and fixing them, spending time in the sweet spot where skill is truly acquired.
Here’s a good article in which Po Bronson explains how it works.