It was Christmas morning and Santa had left some sparkly aqua roller blades (just imagine what Elsa would wear if she lived in Oz) under the tree.
Miss L was so excited. She strapped them on and was ready to go.
But after half an hour she was over it.
She was adamant she couldn’t do it and that she wasn’t good enough so I did was every good parent does and I agreed with her.
No pep talk. Just Agreement.
And then I added….’yet’.
I’d seen a talk by a researcher called Carol Dweck who’s studied thousands of students, especially struggling ones.
Carol talks about the idea of fixed vs growth mindsets.
It’s really just about making your kids believe they can improve.
In all her research she found that students with a fixed mindset believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. Basically, you’re either smart or you’re not.
But those who have a ‘growth mindset’ believe their success is based on hard work, learning, training and doggedness. They were more willing to try harder problems and believe doing this grows their brain.
So how do we encourage a growth mindset?
1. The power of ‘yet’.
I love the idea of adding yet. “Mum, I can’t do xx”….”No you can’t do xxxxx….yet”.
It gives them something to strive for and creates a belief that they will get there eventually.
2. Say learning instead of failing
Thomas Edison tried over 10,000 times to invent the light bulb before he made it happen.
Colonel Sanders tried to sell his fried chicken recipe and was rejected 1,009 times.
Rejection is just a part of life and like failing, you only truely fail if you don’t learn anything from it.
A growth mindset lets kids feel that failing is just part of growing and learning, it’s doesn’t label them as a ‘failure’.
3. Praising effort not result
This idea tells us to praise them for specific effort, strategy, focus and improvement.
We’ve all tried something long enough that it eventually ‘clicked’ but now it’s backed up with loads of scientific research.
You can see her full talk here.
I really hope this little bit of info sparks something in the way you see yourself, not just how we teach our kids to see themselves.
We’re all pretty amazing beings really.
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Take care of you and yours,