What is a growth mindset? In general systems theory and decision science, a mindset is simply a group of ideas, beliefs, or practices held by one or a few individuals or groups of individuals. A mindset may also be described as springing from a person’s world view or perception of life or their philosophy of life. A growth mindset is simply an ability to focus and get things done in an organized, timely and effective manner.
Growth mindsets tend to run counter to traditional fixed mindset principles such as individualism, wherein an individual is judged solely by their capabilities. According to some research studies, a fixed mindset does not contribute to overall intelligence. Fixed mindsets also believe that intelligence is largely a fixed factor, with effort being the main contributing factor. The fixed mindset believes that humans possess fixed faculties of mind and cannot be taught. According to this belief, intelligence is largely a construct of the environment and cannot be changed, although a person can be trained.
Growth mindset believes that humans are not motivated by (natural or social) rewards or recognition. Humans are motivated by (reward) internal and external factors, especially praise. So if you praise your kids for a good job every time they do something good, your kids will continue to do good things because they feel they have been rewarded and will feel like they deserve it. It is similar to the reward-motivation cycle: if someone does something really good and great for you, then you might give them a little bit of a treat (aka “praise”) to further motivate them to keep doing what they did. If you do not praise, then they might not feel so motivated.
How can growth mindsets help kids? The most obvious benefit of growth mindset is to help kids take pride in their accomplishments. Praise can be externally given – for example, when your child does a good job at getting ready for school, he or she can give you a pat on the back. internally, your child learns how important his or her efforts are. For kids, self-esteem comes from knowing they are worth something, even when other people are disappointed.
Another benefit is internal growth. The more intelligent a person is, the more fixed he or she is on certain concepts or ideas. For example, a fixed mindset means that a person is not flexible and does not easily adapt to changing environments. A person with growth mindset is able to adapt and be adaptive. It means your kid can learn new skills and develop ideas that would otherwise be too complicated or new to him or her.
How does growth mindset help you and your kids? It’s simple: if you value your efforts and are willing to reward yourself or your child when they do something right, your kids will be willing to do the same. When they see themselves as someone worth something, intelligence and effort follow. In order to get praise, your kid has to put in the hard work. Otherwise, it would not be motivation for them to work harder.
Growth mindset also helps kids face challenges head on without getting discouraged. When you face challenges, it encourages you to seek solutions instead of just accepting defeat. That way, you can still learn something from your mistakes and get better at facing future problems.
Kids with growth mindset are motivated by praise and recognition. If you can praise your kid for his or her effort every time he or she does a good job, he or she will keep doing it and will even be proud enough to share the recognition with others. Kids with such parents are more likely to achieve their goals and become better at handling even tougher challenges. In short, praise works.