Ok, this was a big one for me. I think I do a good job of praising effort but I am totally guilty of praising intelligence. The book Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings does a great job of explaining why this is problematic. Dr. Ginsburg discusses a really interesting study by Carol Dweck, PhD, professor of education at Stanford. You should really read the whole thing, but in a nutshell, children who were praised for effort did better on tests than those praised for intelligence.
Man example straight from the book:
YES: "I think you did well because you really studied. It paid off."
NO: "Math sure comes naturally to you."
Who would have thought the second is not really a helpful compliment?! It's a bit intricate, but read the chapter and you'll totally get it. As in, if I don't do well on my next math test, suddenly I am questioning my ability rather than my effort.
Such great guidance in this book!