By Jessica Robinson
Parenting is both a fascinating as well as a challenging journey. You want to give your child all the comfort and facilities in the world. At the same time, you also want to prepare your child for the befitting challenges of life. You do not want your child to feel left out when other children take long strides in life. For this simple reason, you look to extend the best educational resources and facilities for your child. In addition to that, you also invest in the development and learning of your child at home. Of course, learning begins at home and much before a child walks into a school. Even when your child begins school, parallel to his learning there, you have to discharge your share of responsibilities at home. You have to play an active role in the cognitive development of your child. A lot about your child’s resilience and future will depend on the mindset he grows up with. Talking of mindsets, this is where growth mindsets come into the picture.
Why are mindsets so important?
You want your child to have a positive mindset and not be deterred by challenges. You do not want your child to pick an inferiority complex thinking that others are blessed with natural intelligence. You rather want him to look for an opportunity in every hurdle. Besides, you want your child to have a knack for improving his capabilities as he grasps more knowledge. No parent would want his child to be a quitter. There are no excuses for not being able to achieve endeavors after all, are there any? People out there are already doing so well because of their perseverance, persistence, and hard work. One can argue that is why is it then the number of unsuccessful people surpasses that of the successful ones. The difference lies in the mindsets! A positive mindset and mindfulness are among the secrets of a beautiful life.
Some people believe that intelligence and abilities are innate. Others believe that intellect and personalities can be shaped for the better with diligence and commitment. The latter is the belief that the proponents of growth mindsets have. Certainly, you should groom your child in a way that he belongs to the latter category of ideologies. As long as a child has a growth mindset, he will have a positive attitude. With this attitude, your child can achieve all his dreams and excel in all his endeavors. In this blog, we shed light on what you can do as a parent to encourage a growth mindset in your child. Before that, let us underline what a growth mindset signifies.
What is a growth mindset?
The neuroscience of a growth mindset explains that such a mindset is driven by integral motivation. To add, a growth mindset is characterized by self-determination in an individual’s behavior. As summarized by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, US, a growth mindset is based on the belief that intelligence can be improved through dedication and consistent hard work. Such mindsets embrace challenges and are happy to learn from failures and incorporate the learned lessons. This is a belief opposed to that of rigid mindsets that comprehend intelligence as an unchangeable trait. The notion of growth mindsets is a progressive one. It is a personality trait that parents should look to inculcate in their children. The real question is, how can you succeed in doing so? Here are some worthwhile strategies that can facilitate your objective.
Effective strategies to encourage a growth mindset in your child
Assist your child with goal setting and measuring performance
Setting goals and being dedicated to them is a vital trait of people with growth mindsets. Because they believe that brainpower can be improved with every endeavor, they believe in the power of goals. Having said that, you should help your child to set worthy goals. These goals can be as simple as completing homework or time or as advanced as mastering interpersonal skills. You have to work on making goal-setting a winning habit for your child. Goal setting in itself is a driving force for intrinsic motivation. All of us feel motivation gushing through us when we set goals, isn’t it? But your job does not stop at setting goals for your child. You should also discuss the purpose of the goal with your child. You have to explain the significance of the goal and guide your child about approaching the endeavor.
Moreover, another important aspect of goals is to measure performance. You have to help your child measure his improvement at each step of the goal. You need to help your child to track his progress. When your child realizes that the graph of his performance is going up with every little effort, he will respect the idea of hard work. If all this while he believed that intelligence is natural, his perspective will change for the better. So, when your child is young, you have to make him used to the idea of giving every task his hundred percent. This personality trait, this commitment will take your child on cloud nine of success in the future. Having a growth mindset will also give them a better chance to adapt to the new normal in education. Rather than looking at remote learning as a hurdle, they will be able to find new opportunities to learn better.
Teach your child how to manage failures graciously
People who have a growth mindset embrace failures. They are more interested in looking at the positive side even in a terrible failure. This is because they know that they can learn from a failure, analyze where they went wrong, and pursue the endeavor again. But this is not a common attitude among young children or even adults. A lot of people feel that failures are synonymous with unpardonable mistakes. Children learn from their parents and teachers how to plan for success and how to manage success. But no one really teaches them how to perceive failures in a positive way and how to manage them. Let your child make mistakes and learn from them. You need to exhibit at least some tolerance for errors because the more the effort, the greater the number of errors.
A lot of young kids tend to give up when they fail because they may not know how to deal with a failure. But if you want your child to have a growth mindset, this is a frequent discussion you should have with your child. You should tell your child that failures are pardonable as long as they are gaining at least something out of them. Even a small lesson learned from a story of failure is good enough. This will encourage your child to come back stronger after failing. Things do not always go as we would like them to be. However, what is in our hands is to keep going and navigating through the thoughts of quitting. This is a simple awakening that you have to incite in your child’s mind.
Model the value of hard work for your child
Teaching your child about dedication and commitment may have a little effect. But modeling how commitment translates into success and fascinating outcomes will work better. Given that, at home, you should stimulate the importance of sincerity and not quitting. You can do that at home in multifarious and intriguing ways. From learning on the internet and fixing your car on your own to creating a beautiful kitchen garden with your hard work, there are so many ways. You should make it a habit to learn something new every day. There are so many resources available to learn in this digital age! After you learn something new, you should implement it to bring positive changes to the home environment. You should model the true essence of a growth mindset for your child.
The idea is to prove to your child that consistency and willpower pay off. You have to model in front of him how tenacity works and how the notion of natural intelligence can be challenged. This will inspire him to believe that he can add to his intelligence by learning something new every day. Persistent hard work overweighs innate talents and acumen. That is the idea we are constantly talking about from the purview of growth mindsets! Let your child have enough practical experiences of this notion turning into reality right in front of him. If you can learn from the internet or books and drive changes in the house, he can do the same in his life. But who will inspire his journey? Why don’t you take that onus by stimulating a growth mindset every day?
Curiosity has the prowess to unlock new horizons for the mind. Whether at school or at home, curiosity will always be among the best active learning strategies. With curiosity, children develop the knack to ask questions and widen their knowledge. So, to promote a growth mindset in your child, you should encourage your child to be curious. You should encourage your child to be eager about reading more, knowing more, and asking more questions. Do not discourage your children when they ask questions. You may not always have the time to answer them but whenever you do, engage in fruitful discussions with them.
In fact, you should model asking the right and open-ended questions for them. Young minds have the incredible ability to absorb extensive information and knowledge. Let your child leverage this ability to the fullest. You can also promote curiosity in them by asking intriguing and open questions. Let them find the answers and every time they do that, their mindsets will grow. Let curiosity create an urge for knowledge and let knowledge make your child even more curious!
Praise initiatives, offer insights
The focus should be to train your child to value the process as much as the outcome. Having said that, you should never hold yourself back from praising your child’s initiative and effort. Even if the efforts do not lead to the desired outcome, they are still praiseworthy. No matter what stage of life you are at, appreciation will always work wonders to motivate you to keep going. In a similar way, when you appreciate your child’s initiatives, it will encourage him to remain consistent. You have to ensure that your child finds the constant motivation to evolve as he grows up. He should feel that his effort and diligence are being rewarded in some way or the other. Given this recognition, he will look to enhance his intelligence and potential with tenacious dedication.
Besides, recognizing your child’s initiatives, you should also offer your insights. Your experience is critical to the sense of direction for your child. When your child attempts or strives for an objective, you should also share your feedback. You can tell that how they could have approached it in a better for brighter chances of success. This will add value to his learning and they would look to incorporate your insights in his next endeavor. So, do not leave feedback sharing to the teachers only. Your feedback too is of great significance for your child’s development.
Use growth mindset vocabulary as often as possible
Communication is the key to exchanging ideas and comprehension. We often talk about the need for efficient communication in the classroom or workplaces. We undermine the significance of effective communication in the house among family members. Even at home, communication is the key to healthy relationships and adding value to each other’s perceptions. You have to communicate in worthwhile ways with your child to train him in the desired way.
As we know, the use of vocabulary is an important aspect of communication. So, for promoting the traits of a growth mindset in your child, you should use the growth mindset vocabulary more often. It includes the use of positive words like challenge, conviction, determination, dedication, embrace, and so on. Here is a small example to prove how growth mindset vocabulary works. Rather than telling your child that he is doing it all wrong tell him that there is something he is not doing right. Do you see the difference in the contexts of these two statements? While the first one can shatter his confidence, the latter one will make him reflect on his actions and plug out the wrongs. This is how growth vocabulary works and this is why communication is so important.
To conclude, little investment of time and effort from you can change the mindset of your child. You have to create enough examples for your child so that he can rest his belief in hard work. One small instance where your child can achieve success based on his hard work will change his perspective forever. However, first, you need to believe in the idea of a growth mindset in a wholesome way and model it for your child. Thereafter, the above strategies will assist you to develop your child as a proponent of growth mindsets. Once your child masters a growth mindset, nothing shall deter the pursuit of his dreams.
Jessica Robison is a guest writer, personal blogger, and the content manager for The Speaking Polymath.