DOES YOUR CHILD HAVE A GROWTH MINDSET?

There are 2 kinds of people in this world. Those who have a growth mindset and those who have a fixed mindset. That’s what Dr. Carol Dweck’s seminal 2006 book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success' categorized us into. The book is a must read if you are interested in how someone’s mindset influences success in life. For now let’s decipher how and why such mindsets are important for your child.

As per Dr. Dweck, people with a fixed mindset believe in unchanging levels of intelligence and talent and thus, believe that success is a result of prior resources that cannot be enlarged. You either have God gifted talent, or you don’t. And if you don’t, too bad because there is very little you can do about it.

On the other hand, people with a growth mindset believe that with hard work and practice, they can master any skill. Such people look at challenging situations which demand a display of one's internal resources as an opportunity for constant improvement and achievement.

For example, those with a fixed mindset regard failure in a discouraging light by seeing it as proof of their inability to succeed due to reasons not within their control. If it doesn’t happen the first time, it probably won’t happen so there is no point in trying again. For people with a growth mindset, failure merely becomes a chance at learning something. They are unafraid of struggles, willing to work harder and aim to go on to obtain high levels of achievements as compared to those with fixed mindsets who are stunted by their own limited expectations.

Well it sounds like growth mindset is the clear winner and the way to go, right? You definitely want your child to have a growth mindset, so he or she can overcome those obstacles and go from strength to strength. But what if your child is stuck with a fixed mindset instead?

Don’t worry about it. According to Dr. Dweck, the use of certain reinforcing habits can play a crucial role in encouraging kids from shifting from a fixed to a growth mindset.

For example, when teachers and mentors were made to change the vocabulary they used to praise and push their students after they had performed well in hard conditions, it resulted in the desired changes. Rather than applauding them for the victory that is already theirs, it proved to be much more beneficial to praise them for the way in which they had achieved it and the qualities they had shown while dealing with the unknown situation.

It is crucial to understand that in order to aim for success it is important to strive for it. It is only by working hard for it and the ambition to keep on learning, despite setbacks that correctly defines the growth mindset. In that sense, a constant flow of challenging and unfamiliar situations to face, which will call for all the resources that truly guarantees the satisfaction and happiness that aiming high can bring.

Our children live in an age of consumption over creation, with the whole world available at the click of a button. How do you assure that kids get faced with situations that demand their complete dedication to sharpening their mental faculties?

One exciting and incredibly beneficial way to do so is to get your child to learn the art of coding. Not only is coding a must have skill for future generations but it is essential for anyone looking for an opportunity to grow by persevering and learning from mistakes. Coding is fun, but it is not easy, and that is precisely why your child must learn it.

According to Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code (a non-profit that aims to close the gender gap in tech) -

“Coding is an endless process of trial and error, of trying to get the right command in the right place, with sometimes just a semicolon making the difference between success and failure. Code breaks and then it falls apart, and it often takes many, many tries until that magical moment when what you're trying to build comes to life. It requires perseverance. It requires imperfection.”

Hence, coding is the very skill to make your child an expert at – and one which will gently emphasize upon him or her the skills of trying and learning by error, reaching out for help when needed and most importantly, that of always being on the lookout for improving for the better. Coding is the one activity that will give your child a great skill for the future and the growth mindset needed to succeed in life.