Teaching Your Children How to Develop a Growth Mindset

Many adults were raised under the impression that basic qualities like intelligence and talent are set in stone. They believe that you’re born with certain abilities. They think there are some people who are born knowing how to overcome challenges, solve difficult problems, and succeed in life without much struggle while others can’t. 

Imagine if your children had that same train of thought. What if throughout their educational careers they struggled in their studies, never tried out for any clubs or extracurricular activities, and simply coasted by because they believed it wasn’t “in them” to do more? 

No parent wants their child to have this type of fixed mindset. This is why it is important to start as early as possible teaching your children how to have a growth mindset. That is, the belief that with patience, practice, and education, they can learn new things. They can overcome challenges, solve problems, and succeed in academics and beyond. 

As your children’s first teachers and influencers, it is imperative for parents to do their part. Here’s how.

Growth mindset kids
Source: Pixabay

Lead By Example

You can’t expect your children to reach for more if you’re not practicing this yourself. Though this may be difficult and a bit of a journey for you, the first thing to do is to ensure you’re leading with a growth mindset. If you have more of a fixed mindset, do the work it takes to get better. 

You can work on building your self-esteem. You can start creating mini-goals and accomplishing them, feeding your mind and learning new skills. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals. You can do this in your place of business, through support groups, and programs for personal growth. No one is perfect, but you want your children to see you working hard towards being the best version of yourself. 

Failure is Nothing to Fear

One lesson you want to teach your children is that it’s okay to make mistakes. Fear of failure is often what stagnates one’s progress. Talk with them about experiences you’ve had where things didn’t turn out the way you had hoped. Educate them on the lessons you learned. Tell them how that helped you to be better in the future. Try pointing out these moments in their lives as well. 

Teach Them Different Approaches to Problem Solving

Whether discussing a math problem or a non-school related incident, there’s usually more than one way to look at a situation. When your child comes to you with a problem, help them determine if there are other ways to solve it. Helping them, and not solving the problem for them, allows kids to realize that everyone has a different way of accomplishing things. It’ll help them to understand that this is okay. Perhaps a kid in school can work out a math problem without using a calculator or scratch paper. Maybe your kid has to use both. This doesn’t mean they’re not smart or can’t develop the skills to one day solve it off the top of their heads. It just means they have to take a different route. 

Focus Positive Attention on Effort

Instead of giving praise and positive talk for the successes in your child’s personal and educational life, let them know how proud you are of their efforts. If they studied hard for a test but got a C, express how proud you were to see them studying. If their team lost the game but your kid worked hard on the field, celebrate his efforts. This time of praise teaches kids to focus on things they can control like their level of effort as opposed to the outcome or success. They will then keep building on their skills and abilities to achieve more in the future. 

In an era where low self-esteem, negative talk, and comparisons run rapid, it is imperative that parents show their children that hard work and determination can take them far. In doing so, you’re helping your child to develop a growth mindset that stays with them throughout adulthood. This mindset will provide the foundation for creating a life of success and happiness. 

Tips provided by Anne Johnstone

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