If you’ve ever considered teaching your kids about the importance of developing a growth mindset, you may have scoured the internet looking for tips and information.

 

Indeed, the theory has become widely popular among parents, teachers, and psychologists, and there is plenty of great guidance out there to help you get to grips with the basics (particularly on our blog!).

 

Unfortunately, however, the ubiquity of the concept has also resulted in the spread of myths and misinformation about the uses of a growth mindset, as well as its foundation in rigorous research and practice methods.

To tackle this, we’ve put together a list of the most common points of confusion to help bust prevailing myths:

 

 

1. The precise meaning of a growth mindset

 

Having a growth mindset is often simply thought to mean working hard, being positive, setting high expectations or being open to new ideas. It is more specific than this, however.

 

A growth mindset amounts to the belief that personal qualities can change and that everyone has the power to develop their own abilities and intelligence. This can then generate actions such as working harder or setting high expectations.

 

 

2. How to instil a growth mindset in kids

 

Many people believe that growth mindsets can be fostered simply by praising children for their achievements. In fact, focusing on only praising the things a child does well can cause them to lose confidence when something doesn’t go as well as it should.

 

Instilling a true growth mindset, however, involves praising qualities such as hard work, failing or using innovative strategies regardless of the outcome.

 

By focusing on the things kids can control, they will start to understand that they have the power to continually develop their skills and abilities.

 

 

3. The extent to which environmental factors affect mindset

 

It’s a common misconception that a growth mindset can be fostered simply through learning relevant theories and instructions. This is not the case, however.

 

Nurturing a growth mindset in kids involves providing an environment conducive to hard work and instilling rituals in them that will help them achieve certain goals.

 

This means limiting screen time and keeping digital devices out of kids’ bedrooms, for example, or establishing a healthy bedtime ritual.

 

 

4. You have a fixed or growth mindset

 

Perhaps, my biggest pet peeve and myth about the growth mindset is that a person has either a fixed or a growth mindset.

 

Mindset is a continuum, a work in practice and something that can move up and down, depending on environment, situation and topic.

 

A child (or adult for that matter) can have, or be developing, a growth mindset in one situation and have a more fixed mindset in another.

 

As an adult with a predominantly growth mindset, I still have moments where I allow fixed thoughts in or say fixed mindset things like “I am a terrible singer”.

 

It is normal to be at various stages of mindset. The goal is to develop them towards a growth mindset over time.

 

Simply telling your kids about growth mindset theory is not enough.

 

We need to lead through consistent actions over time.

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