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Growth Mindset

Written By: Beth Creek

What if you could equip your child to have an unlimited potential to learn? If you could help them develop the skills they need to succeed, not just academically, but in every area of their life? What if I told you your child’s success doesn’t hinge on their natural abilities, or their environment, but is dependent on their MINDSET. A mindset you as a parent can help them develop.

Growth mindset is the tendency to believe you can grow. Fixed mindset is the idea that our intelligence, creativity and character are permanent and can’t be altered.

Let’s talk about fixed mindset first. A fixed mindset is the idea that our abilities are permanent, unchangeable. As children grow and develop they will sometimes have what should be a brief failure become a lifelong mindset. The child who doesn’t do well on a math test and hears a parent say “I was never good at math either” walks away thinking “I will never be good at math. My parent wasn’t good at math.” So what was intended as a comforting comment becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. The idea that “I shouldn’t try because I cannot succeed” is one of the hallmarks of a fixed mindset.

In contrast, a growth mindset is based on the belief that your abilities can improve based on your effort! Praising a child’s effort, not their success, is a key element in developing a growth mindset.

In Carol Dweck’s acclaimed book, “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” a 7th grade student is quoted as saying-

“I think intelligence is something you have to work for … it isn’t just given to you.… Most kids, if they’re not sure of an answer, will not raise their hand to answer the question. But what I usually do is raise my hand, because if I’m wrong, then my mistake will be corrected. Or I will raise my hand and say, ‘How would this be solved?’ or ‘I don’t get this. Can you help me?’ Just by doing that I’m increasing my intelligence.”

We must encourage children to embrace risks, challenges and even failures! Failure should be seen as an opportunity for growth, not a commentary on intelligence. When we reinforce the idea that effort and practice lead to mastery, children begin to see failures as temporary setbacks and they develop persistence in reaching their goals. Growth mindset also helps students receive constructive criticism and use it to propel them towards improvement.

As you think through your own parenting style and your child’s attitude toward failure consider these ten tips to help you begin developing a growth mindset.

Here are 10 Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset

  1. Replace the word “failing” with the word “learning”

  2. Value the process over the end result

  3. Use feedback as a springboard to learn

  4. Cultivate a sense of purpose

  5. View others success as inspiration

  6. Reward actions, not traits

  7. Place effort before talent

  8. Use the word “yet”

  9. View challenges as opportunities

  10. Take ownership over your attitude

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