Family has a tremendous impact on a child’s mindset.
When the child is brought up in an environment where constant improvement is gently encouraged, the kid has a better chance of becoming a thriving adult.
In contrast, emphasizing perfectionism or holding the child back from trying things can prevent them from taking on challenges later in life.
Where do your folks stand?
If your family emphasizes these 6 principles, you’ll likely grow up with a growth mindset.
And if you’re a parent reading this, take note.
Here’s how to encourage your kids to see themselves as works in progress.
1) Fostering curiosity
I was stubborn when I was young. It’s a fickle trait I still grapple with today.
Back then, however, I used to be annoyed when my parents pushed me to try things I was sure I wouldn’t enjoy whenever I expressed curiosity about something.
Mostly sports. (I’m the least sporty person on the planet.)
But I was also a people pleaser, so I appeased them.
I tried volleyball, which was a big fail. Dancing and swimming, though? I love both activities to this day.
Now, I’m endlessly grateful for their dedication to fostering my curiosity, especially since we weren’t well off.
It was a time before the internet, and they couldn’t answer all my questions.
So they took me to the library, where I would check out books on the subjects I was interested in.
This sparked my love for reading and taught me how important it is to open yourself up to learning new things.
See, children are naturally curious.
As long as your family pushes you to ask questions, try things, and seek out new information, they help you cultivate a sense of wonder that will become a thirst for knowledge later in life.
Speaking of knowledge, that brings me to my next point.
2) Cultivating a love for learning
Fostering curiosity can spark a love for learning, which is vital to growing up with a growth mindset.
Just because you don’t know something now doesn’t mean you can’t learn it by tomorrow.
And just because you can’t master a skill on your first try doesn’t mean you can’t become an expert with enough practice.
When children enjoy the process of learning, they’re more likely to carry that mindset into adulthood.
This means they’ll continue to seek out knowledge throughout their lives.
If your family prioritizes learning and makes it seem fun, fantastic!
For parents struggling with this, here are a few ideas on how to cultivate a love for learning in your little one:
- Create a learning environment free from excessive pressure or expectations
- Give the child a chance to explore topics that genuinely interest them
- Offer positive reinforcement to motivate further learning
- Incorporate games and interactive experiences to make the learning process more enjoyable
- Demonstrate your own enthusiasm for learning by sharing your interests
3) Rewarding effort over talent
Talent is great. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take you far unless you put in the work to maximize it.
I always had a way with words, but it wasn’t until I started writing daily that I realized I had a long way to go if I wanted to improve.
And it wasn’t all smooth sailing. I encountered so many setbacks on my way to becoming a full-time writer that I might have gotten discouraged without my family’s support.
What kept me going was the fact that whenever I would fail, my parents would celebrate me for trying.
They wouldn’t let me sulk. Instead, they would buy me an ice cream or pour me a soda and remind me of how important it was to just put in the effort.
So what if I didn’t get an A on my literature essay? As long as I worked hard on it, they were proud.
So what if I lost that writing contest? I spent weeks preparing for it, I’m more skilled than before, and I’ll do better next time.
When children are praised for their effort, they understand that their abilities can be improved over time and that an obstacle doesn’t signal the end of the road.
All they have to do to reach their potential is to keep trying.
4) Valuing other perspectives
If your family emphasizes the importance of considering other perspectives, you’re well on your way to developing a growth mindset.
When children learn to appreciate diverse viewpoints, they become more adaptable and open to receiving feedback.
Additionally, it pushes them to be flexible and adjust their thinking based on new information so they don’t get stuck in their stubborn ways as they grow.
Not to mention the fact that this principle can help children become more empathetic, better listeners, and creative problem solvers.
When you’re willing to pay attention to what other people have to say, you significantly improve your chances of learning new things.
On the other hand, if you dismiss different perspectives because you know best, you’re less likely to expand your knowledge and understanding of the world around you.
5) Embracing the power of “yet”
It’s incredible how much of a difference a word makes.
The word “yet” is a powerful tool in the arsenal of parents looking to raise children with a growth mindset.
If whenever you say “I can’t do this,” a family member adds the word “yet,” it turns into “I can’t do this, yet.”
You may not be proficient at something now, but you can become proficient later.
In other words, they’re encouraging you to grow with minimum effort.
With enough practice, there’s no reason why you can’t conquer even your wildest goals.
6) Encouraging self-reflection
Finally, if your family embraces self-reflection, you’ll probably develop a growth mindset that will prove invaluable in the future.
Doling out praise whenever a child succeeds at something is natural, but it can also cause them to become complacent.
A better way to go is to celebrate the accomplishment but also inquire about what they can learn from the experience:
- What was the most challenging thing about it?
- How did the child overcome the obstacles they faced?
- What could they have done better?
- What lessons are they taking from the experience?
Embracing self-reflection helps children become aware of their emotions, thoughts, strengths, and areas for improvement.
In the long run, children who reflect on their experiences develop emotional intelligence, critical thinking skills, and self-awareness.
These traits are the backbone of a growth mindset.
Parenting is really hard, and no one is perfect 100% of the time.
But if your family appreciates hard work and pushes you to learn, they’re doing something right.
Developing a growth mindset from an early age is key to building resilience.
That will serve you well once you become a full-fledged adult.