Continuing on in our series on Growth Mindset for Parents, let’s talk about building growth-mindset-oriented relationships.
- Create Agreements. Work with your child to develop a list of agreements as needed to ensure the work you do together creates a growth-oriented environment. (This can be developed age-appropriately and depends on their verbal and communication skills.
- Team approach: Replace the pronoun “I” with “we.” Make sure your language is inclusive. The team approach helps build positive interdependence between yourself and your child.
- Be transparent, and share your struggles and emotions: Share appropriate personal moments and emotions with your child. Discuss a time you struggled, a mistake you made, how you learned something new, a misconception, or a success you have had.
- Ask yourself: Am I communicating to my child that I value learning or performance?
BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS: GOAL SETTING
In a growth mindset, we value LEARNING GOALS: (A goal that focuses on the learning outcome of a task) versus PERFORMANCE GOALS (A goal that focuses on the performance of a task). Learning goals are preferable to performance goals because while performance goals simply focus on knowing enough to perform optimally for a short duration of time, learning goals focus on mastery.
BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS: ADDRESSING SHAME
So many of the fixed-mindset responses we encounter include an element of shame. Whether assigning blame to a specific person or critiquing some aspect of personhood when giving feedback, shame has profound implications for developing a growth–mindset.
When we shame our children, we also diminish their capacity for growth. Parents can avoid shaming their children by developing more empathetic practices. A parent that can freely name shame and meet it with empathy is a parent that offers their children a fighting chance against its destructive forces.
Molly is a member of our creative team, mom of four water-loving babies, and a fierce advocate for CPR training and really early swim instruction.