Parents and educators can teach kids to change their fixed mindsets and see more potential in themselves and other people.
Do you agree with this statement? If your answer is yes, here’s something you might consider: Research suggests that believing in the human capacity to change is linked to less depression, better health, and greater achievement.
This is the “growth mindset,” an idea pioneered by Stanford researcher Carol Dweck. It’s the opposite of a “fixed mindset,” the idea that people are born either smart or not, kind or not, strong or not—and people just don’t change all that much.
According to this research, when we practice a growth mindset, the obstacles we’re facing seem more surmountable. It’s crucial for us to realize that we are not helpless; we can grow and adapt. Just as important as seeing ourselves as capable of growth, however, is the belief that someone who is challenging us can change, too. This perspective releases some of the pressure we might feel, and helps us to think more in terms of challenges than threats.
We shouldn’t only believe in the ability of other people to change for their benefit, however. We are the ones who stand the most to gain when we see possibilities in others. For example, one recent study found that teens who learned about the growth mindset in relation to bullying—hearing that bullies could change, and no one was stuck as an aggressor or victim—were more resilient to social stress. Even when they got ignored or felt shy, for example, they didn’t become overwhelmed or physically stressed out. Seven months later, they were even getting better grades.
That’s a fairly easy idea to suggest, and perhaps you already believe in it. But if you’re a parent or educator, the challenge lies in helping kids to see the advantages and the ways that it can be applied to their lives and relationships. Here are some tips for helping kids turn a fixed mindset into a growth one. Read More