What’s All The Fuss About Growth Mindset?

So really this topic reminds me of how I was booed severally back then in secondary school during every inter class football competition.  I was the typical example of “short one’’. (short one is a term used for someone who is unfit in the team). 

Yes, each time our team plays, I ended up being the topic of discussion because it was either I caused the error that led to our defeat or I missed a goal that could have earned us the victory.  There were times that my mates told me football wasn’t my thing, so I should just save myself the incessant embarrassments by forcing myself on the team. Who would have thought that a onetime misfit could ever win the prize of the highest goal scorer in the subsequent inter class football competition?

The little difference between people who give up easily and those that stretch further is their mindset.  Growth mindset is about how we face and overcome challenges in our everyday life.  In most cases, people with this kind of mindset had it infused in them from the very early stage of their lives and as such, they believe their abilities can improve with time. Most people have the other (fixed) mindset – I will never be good at maths. I am short so basketball is only for tall people. Not everyone was born to draw.  

Fixed mindset believes that talent is inherited and you either have it or NOT. There is nothing you can do to change it. Which mindset do you want for your child? Growth mindset? Yes? Great!!!! 

A child who struggles with mathematics and has scored low severally in same would probably assume he/she is bad at mathematics and rather than trying to improve on that, he would put his strength into other areas is a child with a fixed mindset. The one that has trouble playing with figures but continues to improve demonstrates a growth mindset. 

Growth mindset is a social learning process that parents can help their kids to develop overtime. With these five tips, you might as well be on your way to raising a child with a growth mindset.

  • Praise properly 

Remember that a child is 5 times more likely to repeat an action that received positive feedback from his parent.  However, avoid praising your child for their intelligence or natural ability.  Doing this makes them think they are born with it and can as well discourage them from additional effort. 

  • Embrace their mistakes:

Help your kids see mistakes as new discovery rather than failures.  Encourage them to learn from the mistakes by being curious. For instance, ask questions like why didn’t it work this time?  What can you do to avoid this next time? Employ languages that make challenges and setbacks look normal rather than big deals. 

  • Set high standard;

Many people believe that lowering expectation boost self-esteem, in some cases this is not always so.  Setting the bar high sometimes shows that you believe and have faith in their ability and this in turn makes them believe in themselves. Encourage them to leave their comfort zones and embrace challenges.

  • Avoid spoon-feeding;

Helping your kids out all the time with their problems can only create in them a dependent mentality. Rather than making the answers available, ask them open ended questions regarding the problem, for instance what you think will happen if or why do you suppose.  These questions help them in their thinking skills and in most cases leads to rich discovery. 

Encourage them to be resilient and never give up even when it is frustrating.

In their early lives, kids need to come to term with the fact that good achievements are products of hard work, efforts and perseverance. Encourage them to not give up when things get hard and tell them that if they can’t do something now, it doesn’t mean they never will. Getting better takes time but improving is guaranteed. Share stories of other people’s successes. And teach them that it is better not to accept NO and IMPOSSIBLE.

People that have gone on to do great things all had a growth mindset. It is mission critical to nurture this mindset in your child. I wish I had had this mindset much earlier.

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