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Lancaster School Counseling Program: Growth Mindset

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Until recently, most people have believed that we are born with a predetermined level of intelligence and we are only capable of doing things so well based upon set strengths and weaknesses.  This idea of thinking is called "fixed mindset".  Based upon a great deal of research, people are beginning to understand that our intelligence is not predetermined and that our brains can actually build neural connections while learning.  The development of these neural connections increases our intelligence.  We are capable of building new skills, despite weaknesses, as long as we use perseverance and give effort.  This is called "growth mindset".  Research has also shown that having a growth mindset is directly related to motivation and academic achievement.  Instead of shutting down in the face of failure, students who have a growth mindset perceive mistakes as opportunities to learn.  They can even become energized by having a challenge to master!

How can you nurture growth mindset at home?  You can do this in a number of ways!

  • Praise your child's effort and determination, instead of voicing how "smart" they are, particularly when the task is challenging. 
  • Talk with your child about making mistakes and using these mistakes as opportunities to learn. 
  • When you hear your child make comments, such as "I can't" and "This is too hard!", help them change their statements around to more positive statements, such as "I don't have it just yet".  
  • Remind your child that their brains are growing stronger as they learn.

I am looking forward to helping your children develop their growth mindsets and watching them tackle challenges with all their determination!