parent by design:

day 16: help your child to develop a growth mindset

"Whether you think you can or you can't... you're right."

- Henry Ford

what is a 'growth mindset'?

Growth mindset is a phrase coined by Dr. Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, after studying the behaviour of thousands of children; Dweck uses the word 'mindset' to describe a particular set of beliefs that people have around learning and intelligence. Below we outline some of the differences between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset:

  • People with a growth mindset believe that intelligence and ability are malleable and can be improved, whereas people with a fixed mindset believe that intelligence and ability are innate and static.
  • People with a growth mindset see FAILURE as an opportunity to improve; people with a fixed mindset see failure as a permanent outcome and one to be avoided,
  • People with a growth mindset see criticism as a chance to learn, people with a fixed mindset see it as a personal attack- a judgement about them. 
  • People with a growth mindset choose more difficult and challenging tasks, they are not afraid to fail in the pursuit of improvement. Fixed mindset people choose easier tasks, it's more important that they get something right. 
  • People with a fixed mindset see effort as more important than talent, they are more likely to try something new or adopt a different strategy of they don't get the result that want, for people with a fixed mindset, the opposite is true. 

why is it important

As you can tell from the above distinctions, a growth mindset is a fundamental building block to success, in school, in relationships, in work, in life itself.

Whatever your child chooses to do, if they posses growth mindset attributes then they are more likely to succeed than not. They will bounce back from failure more rapidly, they will try new things, work hard to improve, and be more motivated to do well.

The good news is that you can help your child to develop a more 'growth mindset' approach, even if they are closer to the fixed mindset end of the spectrum.

how do we teach growth mindset

We do 3 things to help our kids to develop a growth mindset. 

  • 1
    Teach them our 123 technique.
  • 2
    Teach them the power of words.
  • 3
    Teach them to embrace failure.

We'll show you how to do number 1 and 2 in this module, and number 3 is dealt with in module 18.

the 123 technique

We made a little video that you can show your child to introduce this technique.

Our 123 technique will help your child to:

  • 1
    Look at any situation and no matter how difficult or challenging it is, recognise that there is at least ONE positive
  • 2
    By thinking of TWO things they learned your child will recognise that ALL situations are an opportunity for them to learn something.
  • 3
    By thinking of THREE things they could do differently next time they get their brain into solving problem mode. This also helps with their HOTS as we discussed in day 10. The other thing that this does is that by thinking of potential solutions, your child is creating better INPUTS, so that when this situation happens again, mentally they will have more choices in the moment as to which action to take.

To keep the 123 technique front of mind, we've created a printable for your wall. Put it where it can be seen and every time your child has a challenging experience, ask them to do their 123.

the power of words

The second thing we do to help our kids to develop a growth mindset is help them to use the right words.

The language we use is very powerful, words act as instructions to our brains.

And, the brain is very well behaved- it does exactly what you tell it to.

We have identified a number of phrases and words that aren't very useful when it comes to helping our kids to develop a growth mindset and we have created alternative, more growth mindset friendly words and phrases.

We've created a printable that you can stick on your wall.

Whenever you hear your child say one of the fixed mindset words or phrases, see if you can steer them towards using a growth mindset work or phrase instead.