People with a growth mindset tend to have self-confidence in the face of adversity, genuinely appreciate constructive criticism, and believe that basic qualities, such as talent or intelligence, can improve with effort. American author, Zig Ziglar, said, “If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.”
When it comes to learning something new, children who possess a growth mindset consistently outperform children who limit themselves by clinging to a fixed mindset. Growth mindset kids are far more likely to bounce back from failure and are far less likely to be deterred by hard work. They understand that working to stretch capabilities—and occasionally failing—are both part of the learning process.
Failure to teach, encourage, and develop a growth mindset in children will DRASTICALLY undermine their overall potential for fulfilment in life. The human mind is malleable; with practice, we create new neural pathways that inevitably improve and strengthen over time. Repetition physically restructures our brain. In her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck wrote, “If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning. That way, their children don’t have to be slaves of praise. They will have a lifelong way to build and repair their own confidence. So what should we say when children complete a task—say, math problems—quickly and perfectly? Should we deny them the praise they have earned? Yes. When this happens, I say, “Whoops. I guess that was too easy. I apologize for wasting your time. Let’s do something you can really learn from!”
Introduce & Model the Growth Mindset
To help our children adopt this powerful approach to learning, fathers should first take a self-inventory of our own mindset. Are we comfortable learning new things or do we resist leaving our comfort zone? For better or worse, we demonstrate a mindset model for our children. As they witness how we take on new and difficult challenges, our self-confidence and willingness to learn (or lack thereof) will inspire them to imitate us and develop their own growth (or fixed) mindset.
Clarify the Growth Mindset
Especially as children approach kindergarten and elementary school, discuss the advantages of a growth mindset and the disadvantages of a fixed mindset. By sharing examples and reflecting with children on the many reasons that having a growth mindset makes a difference, a father can reinforce the importance of choosing the correct mentality.
Explore the Growth Mindset
By exploring how the growth mindset makes us feel, we can influence the proverbial brush strokes our children use to paint pictures in their lives. Discuss the struggles of having a growth mindset—and celebrate them! Consider learning something totally new together and remember to use the power of the word “YET!” Be mindful that instances of misbehavior provide learning opportunities. Dweck makes this observation, “All kids misbehave. Research shows that normal young children misbehave every three minutes. Does it become an occasion for judgment of their character or an occasion for tapping into their growth mindset?”
Practice the Growth Mindset
It takes hard work to stretch outside of our comfort zone to overcome challenges and learn new things. The productive “struggle” beseeches those who possess a growth mindset to take a break to not get overwhelmed, so we can come back after resetting our energy levels. When fathers portray mistakes and failures with positive reinforcement, children are more inclined to adopt a growth mindset. Carol Dweck writes, “Many growth-minded people didn’t even plan to go to the top. They got there as a result of doing what they love. It’s ironic: The top is where the fixed-mindset people hunger to be, but it’s where many growth-minded people arrive as a by-product of their enthusiasm for what they do.”
The power of a growth mindset is an absolute game-changer. Dweck wrote, “The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, personifies the growth mindset. This is the mentality that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.”
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” —Romans 12:2 NLT
No more, “I can’t, I don’t know, or I’m not!” As you use My Magical Choices to teach your children positive, conscious language, they will choose to be responsible, calm, confident, fun, a good sport, forgiving, generous and more!
Your child’s mindset matters, more than they realize. Adopt the power of a growth mindset.
As her dreams show her potential versions of herself, Enna is amazed at everything she’s learned how to do. But she knows all that growth won’t come free—it will take time, knowledge, and dedication. Can Enna learn to tackle challenges with a smile?
This empowering picture book teaches readers that even great ideas sometimes get a NO―but that NO can actually help great ideas become the best ideas!
Each of us, from the day we’re born, is accompanied by a special companion—the Yet. An inspirational picture book for every child who is frustrated by what they can’t do…YET!
PLEASE NOTE: As an Amazon Associate, Fathers Truly Matter earns from qualifying purchases. The information in this post should not be construed as providing specific psychiatric, psychological, or medical advice, but rather to offer readers information to better understand the lives and health of themselves and their children. It is not intended to provide an alternative to professional treatment or to replace the services of a physician, psychiatrist, or psychotherapist.