Personal growth is a product of our life’s successes, failures, mistakes, and challenges. And while we all go through these moments, how we view these experiences, that is, our mindset about them, plays a major impact on just how much grow. Providing an environment that views failures and mistakes as learning opportunities allows our kids to explore fearlessly, learn who they are and become the best version of themselves. Embracing a growth mindset with our children is the key to unlocking these values and nurturing our children’s potential.
Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset
According to research there are two different mindsets: fixed mindsets and growth mindsets. Fixed mindsets view our abilities as innate and unchangeable and view failure as permanent. A growth mindset views abilities and talents as something that grows through practice. With a growth mindset, you are more likely to take on challenging tasks, work hard to improve your skills, and view obstacles as a chance to experiment and solve problems.
We all want our children to be confident and feel as though they can take on challenges while also being able to bounce back from disappointments or failures. By embracing a growth mindset, we can instill confidence in our children, no matter what lies ahead. Here are some ways you can encourage your child to shift into the growth mindset:
1. Recognize your own mindset
Ask yourself, how do I approach challenging tasks? How do I respond when I’m unsuccessful? Be mindful of your own thinking and remember that you communicate to your child through both verbal and non-verbal language. Realize that your child does not always listen to us as we talk, but always learns from how we act.
2. Positive reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is such an important part of a child’s self-development. When you provide praise and positive feedback, it is more likely to elicit mini victories, build your child’s self-esteem, and assist in fostering a sense of security within your relationship. Remember to praise qualities like progress, hard work, persistence, effort, rising to a challenge, and learning from a mistake. One way to do this is through regular affirmations. Steer away from reinforcement based on natural talent, fixed abilities, or perfection.
3. Ask before answering
Ask questions that encourage your child to reflect on moments of growth, which helps bring awareness to the active process of learning that takes place throughout the day. Some questions to ask are:
- How did you solve that problem?
- What new strategies did you try?
- What did you try that was hard today?
- What mistakes did you make that taught you something?
Related Reading: Setting Realistic Goals with Your Kids
4. The power of yet
There will be times when you’ll need to help your child through seasons of insecurity, doubt, and failure. In those moments, it is important to validate the child’s feelings and help them understand it is okay. By adding the term ‘yet’ into your statement, it opens the door of opportunity without negating the child’s challenge. ‘You can’t do that yet’ encourages the child to persevere, practice and try again.
5. Recognize the benefits of mistakes and failure
Failure is a necessary component of success. Persevering and adapting through failures allows the brain to adjust, grow and develop, a concept called neuroplasticity. In making a mistake, a child can identify what motivates them intrinsically and helps them better understand what they want for themselves. Failure is a chance for your child to learn, or even pivot, in their pursuits. It allows a child to learn their strengths and weaknesses and be better equipped to address and approach future situations.