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Important Tip: Help Develop a “Growth Mindset” for Your Children and Teens

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Carol Dweck, a famous psychologist from Stanford who performed research on intelligence mindsets, studied two different mindsets: fixed and growth. Based on her research, parents should strive to develop a growth mindset in their children and teens when possible. A growth mindset will help them succeed.

Fixed Versus Growth Mindsets

A fixed mindset is one that assumes that the abilities, intelligence, and skills of a person are fixed or limited. For example, individuals who have this mindset believe that they are either smart or not intelligent. Or, they believe that they will either excel in a sport of fail in athletic activities. Those who follow a fixed mindset are more likely not put much (or any) effort into an area that they feel they are not good or skilled at. This will limit their potential.

Contrast this with a growth mindset which is associated with success, and one where failure is viewed as an opportunity for growth and learning. Parent should work with their children and teens to develop a growth mindset. If children and teens believe that they can improve your skills and intelligence, they are more likely to try new things. They will see failure as a tool that can help them grow. According to the research that Carol Dweck performed, the mindset of a person will be a more accurate indication of whether they will succeed in life than many tests used today to measure intelligence (such as the SAT or ACT tests).

How Can Parents Encourage a Growth Mindset?

As parents, we want to raise confident and successful children. One of the best ways to do this is to foster a growth mindset from an early age. How can you do this? Here are some tips:

  • Spend time each day talking to your child and offering emotional support. Kids who have a good support system are better able to cope with stress, and more likely to step outside of their comfort zone. A strong family bond will help your child when they are out in the world.
  • Let your child know that it is okay to fail sometimes, and that this happens to everyone. Failure is a chance to improve and do better next time. Encourage your child to give their best effort, and help them understand that their failure should not be a cause of shame or an indication of their value as a person.
  • Encourage your child to work hard and try again, eventually, for most things, they will become more proficient and maybe even master the skill or task at hand, and they will be more confident as a result.
  • Praise your child often. When you praise your child, this will increase their self esteem and give them confidence, which will in turn encourage them to try new things and continue to grow as a person. When you offer praise because your child or teen has put in a lot of time or effort to reach a goal, then your kids will continue to try harder.
  • Challenge your children continuously, without pushing them too hard. Encourage your kids to try new things, especially if they feel that they are not good at them. Practice may not quite make perfect, but it certainly may, or at least will give your child or teen a sense of accomplishment as they experience person

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