By Martha A. Lopez, WATG President-Elect
Parenting is not easy, especially if you are raising a gifted and talented child. A common characteristic of a gifted and talented child is they tend to be perfectionists. One mistake and they feel they are failures. This is one of the biggest challenges of parenting gifted and talented children. Today, I want to shed light on how having a growth mindset can help. Dr. Carol Dweck and her colleagues coined the term growth mindset to describe the underlying beliefs people have about learning and intelligence. Research shows that parents can have a powerful impact on their children’s’ mindsets. The language you use and the actions you take show your children what you expect. Giving process praise, talking about the brain, and accepting mistakes as learning opportunities are all practices you can begin using today.
Develop a Growth Mindset in Children
The way we praise our children can have a profound impact on their mindset. Research on praise and mindsets shows that when we praise children for being smart, it promotes a fixed mindset. It sends a message that their accomplishments are trait-based, and tied to something innate. In contrast, praising kids for working hard promotes a growth mindset. It sends a message that the child’s effort is what led them to success. Here are 10 What Questions to Develop a Growth Mindset in Children by Twinkl Educational Publishing.
Talk About the Brain
Our brain is far more plastic than we once thought. Teaching our kids that they actually have control over growing their brains through the actions they take is empowering! Tell your children that when they work hard, their neurons are making strong connections. The dendrites are reaching out to other dendrites, that is, they are connecting to make a stronger brain. What strengthens those connections is practice, asking questions, and actively participating in learning. When children learn that their brains physically change with effort, it leads to increased motivation and achievement.
Learning Opportunities versus Accepting Mistakes
Finally, one of the best ways you can model a growth mindset is to speak candidly about the mistakes you’ve made, and what you’ve learned from them. Speak positively about your mistakes and struggles. This will show your children that taking risks and making mistakes are a natural part of the learning process. Explain to your children that trying hard things is what helps us grow, and you cannot be perfect when you try something hard!
Here are some great videos to learn more about growth mindset:
Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUWn_TJTrnU
Growth Mindset by Carol Dweck (animated book summary) – Growth Mindset and Fixed Mindset: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyIF5VUOJc0
Developing a Growth Mindset! Dr. Nagler’s Laboratory: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivKLEVPI6mM
Student and Parent Voices
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