When winning is the ultimate goal in life, you tend to forget what to do after that. However, those who truly succeed in life are the ones who can see the bigger picture. It’s then that the difference between winning and losing does not decide your fate in life.
Your child needs to adopt this attitude towards seeing the bigger picture right from the start.This is a growth mindset for kids and it aims to make your child more confident, resilient, and most importantly, not afraid of making mistakes. After all, success only comes to those who are willing to fall and learn.
A growth mindset will ensure that your children have a wider horizon in everything they do. This will not only help them academically but also in making decisions in every aspect of life.
Here’s why a growth mindset is necessary for kids and for parents too.
What is a growth mindset for kids?
A growth mindset is the idea that we can grow with hard work, perseverance, and the willingness to step out of our comfort zone. The term was coined by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, PhD.
Dweck also concluded that some people tend to have a fixed mindset where they believe their intelligence, skills, and talent are genetic and therefore limited. That’s why some people perceive mistakes as failures instead of opportunities to learn and grow.
A fixed mindset creates a mental block restricting our abilities to try new things, take risks. People with a fixed mindset also feel the need to repeatedly prove themselves.
How to shift your kids from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset?
A growth mindset may not be innate and needs to be practised to become a part of your child’s thought process. As parents, you will have to take simple steps to communicate this to your child.
- Instead of praising their results, make it a point to praise the effort they put in to achieve it. For instance, it would be helpful to say, “You worked really hard, good job!” instead of saying, “You’re the best.”
- Ask about how they managed to achieve the result focussing on the efforts they put in.
- Remind your child about the failures in life and how they are stepping stones to climbing higher in life.
- Speak to your child about enjoying the journey more than anticipating what’s waiting at the destination.
Children with a growth mindset tend to develop a better mindset towards complex issues. They tend to be better problem-solvers than their peers and can identify when to ask for help, according to Tasha Brown, PhD., a licensed clinical psychologist based in New York.
Still, there will be days when your child will face a loss, feel dejected or face some kind of disappointment. It’s all the more important that you enable them to cope with it.
That’s what having a growth mindset is about. Use these opportunities to communicate with your children and make them understand about trying and trying harder the next time. A bad grade will not decide their academics, nor will a loss on the field.
A great example to give your children are superheroes. Every origin story witnesses our favourite character going through multiple hardships to achieve superpowers. But as Uncle Ben once said, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” And that’s what your child needs to remember.
Video games, too, are a great example of developing a growth mindset for kids. Much like games, you need to level up in life as well and unlock new armours, equipment and more challenges to complete.
Become a better parent with a growth mindset
It isn’t just the child that needs a growth mindset to be better every day. Parents, too, need to have a similar attitude when it comes to raising children. Use your failures and speak about your own hardships while growing up. Tell them how you faced that situation and the decisions you had to make to emerge from it
Your child will find you relatable as a parent and open up more about their good days as well as the bad ones. As a parent, exercises like these can be humbling. Speaking to your children candidly makes you more open to their world, especially when your child is in their pre-teens or teens.
Putting your guard down occasionally as a parent also liberates you from being an adult time and again. They know you’ve made mistakes and can count on you as a friend instead of an adult. You aren’t perfect and neither is your child. With a growth mindset, there is no pressure to be an ideal version of yourself.
You won’t be always around to help your child make the right decisions in life. You can help them develop the right mindset that makes them ready to tackle any situation in life and overcome every challenge out there.
This article was first published in theAsianparent.