As parents we can aid in our children’s growth mindset through language and acceptance to encourage our children to always push forward and make an effort despite natural setbacks that come with learning. We can do so by providing continual praise on the process as opposed to strictly the product. This can take many different forms depending on the content and developmental stage of our children, but the message is consistent: effort is valued and you have control over the outcome. Below are a few practices that you can begin today to help your child grow to understand that ability is not simply fixed but something that can be developed.
- Using language that emphasizes effort vs. intelligence. This small change in approach can help children to begin to understand the concept that their success on tasks is not limited by a fixed trait like predetermined intelligence but instead by the effort they put toward mastering a task. For example, changing the approach and language from statements such as "I give up" to "let me try another strategy", or "I can not do this" to "mistakes help me learn", will help students begin to internalize a more positive mindset that becomes second nature when faced with a challenge.
- Allow children to make mistakes. Helping your child view setbacks as learning opportunities will help them continue to challenge themselves even when they encounter obstacles on their educational journey. Perceiving these obstacles as learning opportunities and not failures will help students gain knowledge from their experiences and become stronger students and individuals.
- Encourage Goal Setting: By setting evolving personal and academic goals students have something identifiable to work toward. This helps in students’ understanding that they are constantly growing and working toward strengthening themselves, instead of simply mastering a task for a grade.
- Support the Success of Others: Through growth mindset people are encouraged to continually move forward, always challenging themselves to do better then they have in the past. This drive for furthering individual growth supports the success of others as well. Instead of seeing peers as competition, a growth mindset allows children to encourage their peers’ effort as well as their own growth.
Allowing our children to develop the skills necessary to understand that they are in charge of their fate is an invaluable gift. By gaining a deeper understanding that their effort has an immediate impact on their success, students will naturally work harder to achieve goals and continue to strive to better themselves. This intrinsic motivation has been shown to create lifelong learners and students who are continually open to the challenge of learning.