Home > IncrediBundles.com > MomVista > Raising Children With a Growth Mindset

Raising Children With a Growth Mindset

Raising Children With a Growth Mindset

Stanford University psychologist, Dr. Carol Dweck, set out to understand why some children are resilient and persevere in the face of challenges while others quickly give up in frustration. She knew that understanding what drove these very different reactions could significantly impact educational outcomes for all children. After all, it is hard to succeed in life without the ability to push forward through setbacks, regardless of how much academic support you have. At the same time, armed with a drive to succeed in spite of adversity, a child can accomplish anything.

In the course of her research, Dr. Dweck found that the children she studied fell into two different camps, each with a different mindset that drove their behavior and shaped how they responded to challenges.

One camp of children displayed belief in a "fixed mindset." These kids tended to view one's abilities or deficiencies as innate and predetermined. A person with a fixed mindset is likely to believe that some people are good at math, some people aren't and that is simply the way the world works.

The second group of children exhibited a "growth mindset." These children believed that a person's skills and attributes can be grown and nurtured by effort and perseverance.

The difference in the behavior of these two groups when faced with obstacles was stark. The children with the fixed mindset were likely to give up when faced with setbacks and to avoid risk. The children with the growth mindset welcomed challenge and were not put off by failure because they understood its role in acquiring new skills and gaining proficiency.

So how do you promote a growth mindset in a young child?


As is always the case in parenting, words matter. Dr. Dweck recommends being thoughtful about how we phrase words of praise. Avoid attributing aptitude in an area to an innate ability rather than to the child's strategic efforts. For example, it's tempting to tell a child who has mastered their abc's, "You are so smart!" A better choice? "You worked so hard to learn all your abc's and you did it! Great job!" The former statement can easily make a child feel risk-averse when they find themselves challenged. If mastery makes you "smart," does a failed attempt next time dispute that assessment?

Acknowledge Challenge and Encourage Perseverance

It's hard to watch our children struggle. Sometimes it's tempting to refocus a child on another endeavor where we know they'll find delight in their quick success. However, success alone does not build self-esteem, nor does disappointment destroy it. Self-esteem grows with a person's ability to rise to difficult occasions. When your child does succeed at a task that has required a lot of effort, encourage her to recognize that had it not been for trying and failing she would never have achieved her goal.

Frame Problems as Opportunities for Growth and Model Strategic Thinking

Problem solving is learned. Indeed, the ability to objectively tackle a problem free from shame and without letting our own fear of failure get in the way has enormous implications for every area of our lives. Think of the difference between the child who hides his bad math grade from you and the one who comes to you for help brainstorming how to improve at math. We can teach the art of problem solving by walking kids through the strategic thinking necessary to identify issues and find solutions. The takeaway is to view problems not as character flaws but as opportunities for growth and as a part of life.

Be Aware of Your Own Mindset Biases

The best news from Dr. Dweck's research is that we're never too old to develop our own growth mindset. The first step is to recognize our own biases. Few people are entirely of one mindset, we all tend to feel that some areas of ability are ours to grow and some are closed to us. It's easy to inadvertently pass those beliefs on to our children. If we teach our children to view challenges as opportunities for growth, there is no limit to the people they will grow into.

IncrediBundles.com believes in the power of learning and in the power of a gift to positively impact the life of the recipient. IncrediBundles.com Diaper, Wipes and Book Subscription Gifts are the perfect baby gifts and toddler gifts.