What you think about can have a big impact on how much effort you put into something.
It’s important to shift from a fixed mindset, where you think that traits like intelligence or talent are just fixed traits that you either have or don’t have, to a growth mindset, where your intelligence and talents can develop over time through hard work and perseverance.
What is a Fixed Mindset?
A fixed mindset focuses on comparing yourself to others and placing more value on things like status, performance, and appearances rather than focusing on personal growth and improvement.
The main difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset is how people respond to failure, so let’s explore that in more detail before we discuss how you can help children adopt a growth mindset.
In a fixed mindset, when things aren’t going well, the instinct is often to give up which can result in a lack of effort and perseverance. This is because children who believe that intelligence and talent are fixed traits will often equate failure to an inherent lack of these traits.
As a result, they may see failure as confirmation of their own inadequacies rather than seeing it as valuable information about how to improve.
What is a Growth Mindset?
On the other hand, people with a growth mindset believe that they can develop their abilities through hard work and perseverance. They see challenges not as signs of their own inadequacies but rather opportunities to expand their capabilities.
A growth mindset encourages you to embrace challenges and persist even in the face of difficulty or failure because it is seen as an opportunity for growth and learning.
How Do I Help My Children Develop a Growth Mindset?
The first step towards developing a growth mindset is to teach your children that they are in control of their own effort, not the outcome. Rather than focusing on succeeding at all costs, you can help them learn how to respond positively when they struggle or fail.
If something goes wrong, you can talk to your child about how they approached the problem and what they could change in the future. This approach helps children to shift their focus towards taking action rather than standing back and worrying about failure.
Show Enthusiasm When Your Children Succeed
You should also show enthusiasm when your children succeed at achieving a goal. Praise them for working hard to achieve their goal, rather than just telling them that they are good at something. When you focus on effort and improvement instead of final results, your child will understand that work leads to success even if the end result isn’t perfect.
Offer Constructive Criticism When Your Child Makes a Mistake
Make sure to offer constructive criticism when your child makes a mistake or fails at something since this provides valuable information that can help them improve going forward. Offer specific feedback about what your child did well and how they could make improvements. However, try not to focus on making excuses for mistakes or blaming yourself since this can take the emphasis off of personal improvement.
Encourage Your Children to Embrace Challenges
Encourage your children at home and in school by helping them see failure as part of the learning process. For example, if your child doesn’t get a good grade on a test, you could say…
“It sounds like you didn’t do as well as you wanted. What can you do differently next time?”
This approach helps children understand that making mistakes is expected when working towards long-term goals, and it gives them an opportunity to think about how they can improve their studying or effort in the future.
Help Your Children Identify Their Strengths
Help your children find ways to use these strengths in new situations so they experience personal growth. This is especially valuable for older children who are transitioning to more challenging academics, sports, or activities.
For instance, if your child loves to run, make sure they get involved with a sport or activity that challenges them to work on running. By having an opportunity to practice and hone their strengths in a new area, children learn that challenging themselves is one of the best ways to grow and gain confidence.
Parents should teach their kids how to embrace failure as an opportunity to improve. Rather than seeing failure as a negative, you can help your child understand that it is often the only way to learn how to succeed.
By emphasizing effort over results, parents can help their kids grow into responsible adults who aren’t afraid of challenges but instead see them as opportunities for growth and success.