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Continuing on in our series on Growth Mindset for Parents, let’s talk about building growth-mindset-oriented relationships.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Ask yourself: Am I communicating to my child that I value learning or performance?


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, Happy Latin American mother and son hugging each other at home - Family love concept - Focus on child faceSo 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.

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