Teaching Your Children to Have a Growth Mindset

Meeting Kids July

Now that school is out and children are home for the summer, many parents have reached out to me concerned about their children’s lack of motivation.  The first thing I help parents understand is that motivation is natural.  We all do what we like and will work for what we want. Instead of focusing on motivation, it is vital for parents to spend time helping their children develop a growth mindset.  A growth mindset is the belief that we can improve anything through effort, learning, and persistence.  A growth mindset will forever shape how your children approach challenging situations, cope with failures through flexibility, and develop resilience. 

A growth mindset is not natural and takes a tremendous amount of work to develop.  Parents must lead this effort through intentional modeling, shaping, and engaging.  Here are a few helpful hints you can use to teach this life altering mindset to your children.

Consistently have something that they are learning.  If you notice a “weakness” in your child, look at it as a skill and help them develop a plan to practice the skill until it is mastered.  Help your child stay focused on how far they have come instead of allowing them to feel defeated and discouraged.

Constantly have a goal that you are helping them work towards.  It is important to learn that “hard work leads to good rewards.”  The goal could be purchasing an item, making a video, or reading a novel.  It does not matter what the goal is, just help your child set one and follow through until completion.

Teach them self-discipline.  You can help your children develop this by providing a structured environment. Force your children to work first, then relax every day.  Remember Newton’s Law of Motion, “An object at rest tends to stay at rest, and an object in motion tends to stay in motion.”  If you allow them to wake up and spend time on electronics, it is going to be difficult to get them to transition to hard tasks.  Self-discipline leads to a healthy sense of self-accomplishment and a strong work ethic.

Have them focus on something bigger than themselves.  Teach your children to diligently observe the world and focus on how to make it better.  Encourage them to look for needs and attempt to meet them.  Teach them to ask others how they can help.  This basic character development is slowly fading from our self-centered society.  Have your children help elderly neighbors, make cards for sick friends, clean a highway, be a member of a team, etc. 

Encourage spending time with people who make them better.  Take time to find people who help your children strive to be the best version of themselves by encouraging every attempt they make to do the right thing.  Watch movies, read books, and listen to stories about people who have overcome difficulties through persistence.  Make failure a normal thing in your home and teach your children that it is a normal part of the process of becoming their best.

These are not things that you simply say to your children.  You must make these experiences that you establish and maintain until your children have fully internalized their own growth mindset.  Raise children who never stop learning to be the best person they can be.

Dr. Beth Long received her education in Counseling Psychology from Chapman University. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Beth has worked in six unique clinical environments across the country and currently owns Works of Wonder Therapy in Montgomery. Beth utilizes the knowledge from a variety of different disciplines to give her patients the best care possible. To learn more visit


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