There’s a Chinese proverb that says, “Don’t be afraid of sluggish growth; be afraid of remaining still.” You may also be familiar with a more current and succinct interpretation: ‘having a development mindset,’ a term coined by American psychologist Carol Dweck in 2006. The message from ancient Chinese folk wisdom and 21st-century academic research is the same: those who view learning as a continuous process of improvement have a better chance of long-term success than those who pigeonhole themselves early on based on fixed ideas of intelligence, talent, or disposition. While having a growth mindset can benefit everyone, it is especially crucial for children who are still in the early stages of development to establish the habits and attitudes that will serve as a foundation for the years ahead. Here are five strategies for instilling a growth mindset in your child.
1. Acknowledge work and development rather than just results.
Focusing on the process rather than the outcome is one of the main principles that drive the growth mindset. In reality, this implies that parents should commend their children not only for improving their test or exam scores but also for putting up greater effort or showing growth. For example, you may come across a situation where you know your child has worked hard to develop but the grades do not reflect that effort – dig a little deeper than the grade. Your child may have performed better in an area that he or she had previously struggled with, or may have solved a tough problem for the first time. That’s progress, and you should be proud of your kid!
According to a study conducted by a renowned psychologist on adolescent students, those who were praised for effort rather than grades were more likely to accept harder challenges in the future, whereas students who were only praised for grades were conditioned to reject new challenges that they felt they couldn’t succeed in. But what if your child doesn’t have anything to show for his or her hard work? You should be encouraging them nonetheless if you believe in the advantages of a growth mentality. It’s possible that a fresh strategy or a change in study habits is needed, and our teachers at SCC will be pleased to lend their expertise and work with you to address your child’s weaknesses.
2. Accept that failure is an inevitable part of the learning process.
Failure is an unavoidable part of the learning process, no matter how painful it is to acknowledge at the time. It’s also essential for cultivating a growth attitude. By praising mistakes rather than condemning or judging them, you can help your child avoid developing a fear of failure and humiliation, which will encourage him or her to attempt new things and keep trying. For example, a kid who could have been demoralized by a single terrible Science test in Primary 3 might be able to grow his or her intelligence and enthusiasm in the topic as a result of your words and behavior. Instead of closing doors forever, the growth mentality encourages you to leave them open for your child to walk through if he or she so desires.
3. Avoid becoming overly protective of your children.
As previously said, the process is critical in cultivating a growth mentality. This means that in order to learn and acquire the mindset, children must go through the process themselves, including all of the bumps and missteps along the road. As parents, you should avoid playing an overly active role in this process since over-parenting prevents children from falling in the first place, robbing them of valuable learning opportunities. It also fosters the development of a less-than-desirable mindset, in which your kid expects Daddy or Mummy to always solve his or her problems. To paraphrase the Chinese proverb, this would be analogous to your child standing still, waiting for you to pick him up. Independence, resilience, and problem-solving abilities are all crucial attributes that will only become more important as your child grows older if you take a more hands-off approach.
4. Foster a sense of wonder and a desire to learn.
Don’t ignore your child’s inquiries just because they aren’t part of the “what’s being tested” list. Instead, reward their curiosity when they want to know why an answer is correct because they are going above and beyond unquestioning acceptance of the “right answer.” Knowing why won’t get your child any additional points, but it will make him or her a more interested and motivated student. If your child’s inquiry perplexes you (which is a good sign because your child is asking difficult questions! ), the Internet is only a click or tap away. If you still can’t locate what you’re searching for, ask your child’s teachers during the next session.
5. Set a good example for your child
Children learn by example, and they learn more than anyone else from their parents’ examples. Give your child examples of times in your own life when you persevered in the face of adversity or naysayers. If your child is there when you make a mistake or face a difficult situation, use the chance to demonstrate how someone with a development mindset responds. Instead of telling them a story from a few years ago or from your youth, show them the growth mentality in action!
Creating eager and motivated students of all ages
No kid can excel in all areas. When children are encouraged to approach their learning with a growth mindset, they often prove to be better at more things than they or their parents imagined possible.