FAILURES AND MISTAKES = LEARNING
In a world that is so competitive, people often feel they need to be perfect in order to stand out. We as a society have a tendency to become so focused on being right, correct or perfect that we lose touch with the valuable lessons taught within the process of trying and failing or making a mistake.
Researcher and professor Carol Dweck delineates between two different mindsets to describe the way people thing about ability and talent: fixed mindsets and growth mindsets. Fixed mindsets view our abilities are innate and unchangeable and view failure as permanent. Whereas a growth mindset which views your abilities and talents as something that grows through practice. With a growth mindset, you are more likely to embrace challenging tasks and work hard to improve and may view obstacles as a chance to experiment and solve problems.
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. Here are some ways you can encourage your child to shift into the growth mindset:
1. Recognize your own mindset:
How do you approach challenging tasks? How do you respond when you are not successful? Be mindful of your own thinking and remember that you communicate so much to your child through both verbal and non-verbal language. Realize that our child does not always listen to us as we talk, but always learns from how we act.
Praise is such an important part of a child’s development of self. When you provide praise and positive feedback, it is more likely to elicit mini victories, help 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, learning from a mistake NOT for natural talent, fixed abilities or perfection. Click HERE for a list of positive affirmations to use with your child.
Ask questions that encourage your child to reflect on moments of growth throughout the day. This brings awareness and interception to the active process of learning that takes place every day. You can ask questions like “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?”
4. The power of yet:
There will be moments when your will be expected to help your child through moments of insecurity, doubt, and failure. In those moments, it is important to validate the child’s feelings and help them understand it is okay. But by adding the term ‘yet’ into your statement, 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. For inspirational posters for your child, click HERE:
5. Recognizing the benefits of mistakes and failure:
Failure is a necessary component in success. Persevering and adapting through failures allows our brain to adjust, grow and develop; this is called neuroplasticity. In making a mistake, a child has the opportunity to identify what motivates them intrinsically and help better understand what they want for future selves. Failure is a chance for your child to learn, or even pivot, in their pursuits. It allows a child to learn their strength and weaknesses and be better equipped to address them and to approach future situations.
For songs that promote growth mindset, click HERE.
We don’t need our kids to strive for perfection, we need to help our children focus on progress. In the words of Bill Gates, “It is fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure”.
If you want to learn more about growth mindset, watch a Ted Talk by Carol Dweck HERE.