Growth mindset for our children and us

How a growth mindset benefits children and mothers

Do you have a growth mindset?

Carol Dweck's seminal work Mindset involves researching how children's relationship to failure dictates their outcomes. She studied children's attitudes towards achievement and skill acquisition in the setting of carefully designed setbacks. Some were able to get to the finish line and others were not.

She reasoned that it has a lot to do with having a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset.

Children who believe that intelligence is a static trait that is largely genetic are in a fixed mindset. Children who believe that intelligence is malleable and that failure is an opportunity to learn rather than define yourself as not good at something are in a growth mindset.

Intelligence or ability is seen as a static, inherited trait in a fixed mindset. Intelligence is malleable and flexible in a growth mindset.

Growth mindset children come out on top. They are a lot more likely to succeed, because they put in the effort and time to achieve goals in the setting of failure. There is also very interesting research about how their brains start to wire differently over time, as they understand that they can literally learn anything if given enough effort and a long enough horizon.

The impact of Dweck's work in education cannot be overstated. Over the last 30 years, her work has given rise to a range of studies evaluating a growth mindset. There has been some data showing that the way teachers speak to children impacts willingness to take on a challenge or not. Saying you are smart is in the realm of a fixed mindset; whereas praising effort fosters a growth mindset.  

So let's be mindful of how we can cultivate a growth mindset in our children. Praising for effort and repeatability seems to be a far more superior parenting route than labeling children if they are good at something or not. Dweck's work shows that children can learn anything if they believe they can.

If you are a believer, then you know intuitively that we'd want to foster this mindset in our children. But what about for ourselves?

You can also learn and be anything at any point in your life. It starts with one small step. It starts with a growth mindset and also habit formation.

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