“I can’t do it!” sobbed our 3-year-old son as he gave up and tumbled to the ground in total despair. To my surprise, his 4-year-old sister, stepped up and said, “It’s okay! Try again! I’ll help figure it out.” Have you ever noticed how some children blossom in the face of challenges, while others shut down altogether?
Jamie Rives, a colleague of mine, shared her research of Carol Dweck’s studies of this phenomenon. Jamie reports: “Throughout Dweck’s work, she realized that some children blossomed in the face of challenges, while others shut down altogether. In addition, the children willing to embrace challenge and wrestle with failure obtained more positive results than the children who used avoidance tactics when they encountered an obstacle in their learning. She began seeing it everywhere in the world around her- in education, parenting, business, and even sports. Eventually, she came up with a name for it: mindset. In her work, Dweck identified two separate mindsets: fixed mindset and growth mindset. She defines them as follows:
Fixed Mindset: The belief that people are born with a fixed amount of intelligence and ability. People operating in the fixed mindset are prone to avoiding challenges and failures, hereby robbing themselves of a life rich in experience and learning.
Growth Mindset: The belief that with practice, perseverance, and effort, people have limitless potential to learn and grow. People operating in the growth mindset take on challenges with the understanding that making mistakes and failing are essential to growth.”
Both mindsets exist in us all. It’s whether we choose to view various situations through the lens of the growth mindset or the fixed mindset that makes all the difference. In Mindset, Dweck points out that all people begin life with a growth mindset. Think about infants. They don’t care if their babbling make sense while learning to speak and no matter how often they fall in learning to walk, they always get back up.”
So, when does a fixed mindset develop and how can we, as parents, help guide our children to develop growth mindset? I’m glad you asked!! WeJoySing thanks Jamie Rives for sharing her research and will be sharing the answers to these questions in a blog series: Growth Mindset Parenting! The series will feature Growth Mindset videos and practical growth mindset techniques and suggestion to add to your parenting tool chest. You won’t want to miss a single post!!