I’m in the middle of reading a book that I am very excited about. It’s called Mindset by Carol Dweck. The two mindsets she explains and illustrates in the book are a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. The fixed mindset is based on the belief that talent and success are just naturally there or not. The growth mindset is based on the belief that skills and success can be worked on and developed with effort.
As a parent, I’ve been thinking about the book through the lens of the family. Sometimes as parents we are guilty of unofficially labelling ourselves in a certain negative way. This comes across as blaming others or making excuses for why we’re not becoming better parents: “I’m not good at crafts,” or “I’m not fun,” or “I don’t know how to…”
As I’ve been reading, I recognize his mindset has been part of my past as well as my present practice in parenting! I was also encouraged however, realizing that I am at times open to developing as a parent and growing in my capacity to relate to my kids. I even see a growth mindset in relation to my marriage.
It may sound simple to you but it is so powerful to just realize that we can grow! Whatever experiences or patterns we have had in the past do not have to define us in the future. This gives us the freedom to be intentional in our parenting and – actually– in all our relationships and endeavours in life.
One simple thing you can try this week to develop a growth mindset would be giving your children praise and encouragement based on their effort, not on how smart they are or how good they are at something. A growth mindset sees failure and setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow. A growth mindset doesn’t hide mistakes or quit when it gets hard. A growth mindset tries to solve more difficult problems.
Another thing you could try if you want to develop more of a growth mindset related to being a parent would be to read a good book about parenting and discuss it with someone. Allowing another voice speak into your parenting is a wise move and worth the work. Having humility and love to consider how you could change or grow related to the content is a wonderful exercise.
Developing a growth mindset means being vulnerable as a parent. It means admitting that we’re not experts at everything! I want my kids to develop a growth mindset and I see that I can develop one too!