Many high achievers also struggle with a fixed mindset. This article firstly explains what we mean by fixed mindset and growth mindset and then provides some helpful tips for parents for contribute to a growth mindset.
What is this mindset malarkey? Carol Dweck a Stanford University Researcher introduced us to these terms when she wrote a book called “Mindset”. It went on to become a raving success and her theory on ‘mindset’ was labelled by many as ground breaking.
In a fixed mindset people believe their talents and qualities are fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their achievements (mentally) and associating their self worth with their achievements. They believe that talent= success.
In a growth mindset people believe their abilities and qualities are developed through hard work and perseverance. Talent may be a starting point but after this their success is down to their persistence and willingness to make mistakes. They believe that hard work = success.
It may seem like a subtle difference but this shift in thinking is equated with dramatically different results in areas of work, sports and relationships. If you want to learn more about Mindset I highly recommend Carol Dweck’s book.
How do we go about encouraging our children to develop a growth mindset?
We can help our children to cultivate a growth mindset by reframing mistakes and failures as learning opportunities. Mistakes are often the breeding ground of new learning and a willingness to make a mistake gives children the courage to try new things and apply their knowledge in new ways.
Praising process rather than praising outcomes. Its very tempting to praise our children when they get a high test score. However far more helpful than simply praising outcomes is praising our children when we see them being persistent, committed, and hardworking.
Help your child to understand their brain is just like a muscle and gets stronger the more they work at things. This encourages a child to see their competencies will grow with hard work.
Encourage collaborative learning where you child is interacting and learning from others. Discussing problems with others leads to more creative problem solving and helps children to benefit and grow from the experience of others. This is a proven way to encourage a growth mindset.
Why is a growth mindset important?
Helping your child to cultivate a growth mindset will help them to be more resilient to criticism and feedback. With a growth mindset feedback is seen as an opportunity to learn, whereas with a fixed mindset it is easy to see criticism as a sign of failure.
A growth mindset helps a child to see problems as opportunities. Setbacks become interesting challenges to learn new and creative ways to overcome things.
And perhaps most importantly a growth mindset ensures that a child (even if born with many talents) has a good work ethic toward life in general. Understanding that their success is based on their efforts and what they put into a task.
If you are interested to learn more about Mindset please feel free to get in touch with the team at PMW.
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