Growth Mindset: How Parents Can Set Their Kids Up For Success

My Experience of Growth Mindset

Some of the most exciting research out there is on helping your child have a growth mindset. I wish that I had been raised with this view of education, as a child with ‘specific learning difficulties’ similar to dyslexia I thought I was ‘stupid’ but now years later I am a confident writer (yes sorry my grammar still sucks) but it’s taken me years to get this confidence up, my handwriting is a scrawl so no one will notice how badly spelt my words are but that should not have stopped me!

Really I just needed to know about the many successful dyslexic’s out there to give me a growth mindset. F. Scott Fitzgerarld ( Great Gatsby) , Jules Verne ( Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea) and Agatha Christie (Poirots: Murder on the Orient Express ) were all dyslexic and went on to be household names.

Now at 39 I have rediscovered learning and with this new growth mindset I am loving it after years of thinking I was not a good learner!

What The Experts Say About Growth Mindset

I found this article on Mindset Works “30 years ago, Carol Dweck and her colleagues became interested in students’ attitudes about failure. They noticed that some students rebounded while other students seemed devastated by even the smallest setbacks.

After studying the behaviour of thousands of children, Dr. Dweck coined the terms fixed mindset and growth mindset to describe the underlying beliefs people have about learning and intelligence. When students believe they can get smarter, they understand that effort makes them stronger. Therefore they put in extra time and effort, and that leads to higher achievement.”

The article goes on to say “Recent advances in neuroscience have shown us that the brain is far more malleable than we ever knew. Research on brain plasticity has shown how connectivity between neurons can change with experience. With practice, neural networks grow new connections, strengthen existing ones, and build insulation that speeds transmission of impulses.

These neuroscientific discoveries have shown us that we can increase our neural growth by the actions we take, such as using good strategies, asking questions, practicing, and following good nutrition and sleep habits.

At the same time that these neuroscientific discoveries were gaining traction, researchers began to understand the link between mindsets and achievement. It turns out, if you believe your brain can grow, you behave differently. So the researchers asked, “Can we change mindsets? And if so, how?” This began a series of interventions and studies that prove we can indeed change a person’s mindset from fixed to growth, and when we do, it leads to increased motivation and achievement.

For example, 7th graders who were taught that intelligence is malleable and shown how the brain grows with effort showed a clear increase in math grades”. You can read the full article at ​ (note there is a whole section for parents who want to teach their children more and it is well worth an explore.)

Staying with Carol S. Dweck, in her ​Scientific American article titled “Secret Guide to Raising Kids” she tells us “​Many people assume that superior intelligence or ability is a key to success. But more than three decades of research shows that an overemphasis on intellect or talent—and the implication that such traits are innate and fixed—leaves people vulnerable to failure, fearful of challenges and unmotivated to learn.

Teaching people to have a “growth mind-set,” which encourages a focus on “process” rather than on intelligence or talent, produces high achievers in school and in life. Parents and teachers can engender a growth mind-set in children by praising them for their persistence or strategies (rather than for their intelligence), by telling success stories that emphasize hard work and love of learning, and by teaching them about the brain as a learning machine.

What Can Parents Do?

How do we transmit a growth mind-set to our children? One way is by telling stories about achievements that result from hard work. For instance, talking about mathematical geniuses who were more or less born that way puts students in a fixed mind-set, but descriptions of great mathematicians who fell in love with math and developed amazing skills engenders a growth mind-set, our studies have shown.”

“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 about what you expect. Giving process praise, talking about the brain, accepting mistakes as learning opportunities, and understanding the role of emotions in learning are all practices you can begin today.”

I found this great five episode video series from Stanford University’s PERTS lab which aims to bring a growth mindset to classrooms everywhere. They are free to watch and really explain growth mind set in the simplest terms. (click on the picture to watch on youtube) my daughter references Dojo when things get challenging so it really works!

Finally Mindset Works say: “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.”

We have also found these great books to support you bringing a growth mindset into the home. Click on each to read more.
























Mindset works – Excelled website all about Growth Mindset!
Class Dojo

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  • Lizzie Roles says:

    This post really speaks to me as I’m a dyslexic 39 year old! As someone who grew up very much feeling stupid I now want to make sure my children know they can achieve with hard work and a love of learning! I’m so happy you’ve linked up!! I’d love the growth mindset as a printable #sharethejoy

    • apositiveparent says:

      Thank you. I should make some printables actually I am great with photoshop! Let me get creative at the weekend 🙂

  • WebMDiva says:

    I love this! This is so beyond important to teach to our children!


  • Pen says:

    This is so important. A growth mindset and the ability to take risks and to not be scared of failure are things that I really want my son to be able to do. Thanks for this post. Pen x #AnythingGoes

  • Great post! I love reading things about growth mindsets. I came across the concept a year or two ago through a great Ted talk which is well worth watching if you get a chance to look it up. It talks about how to promote a growth mindset in children, very much like your post and its really interesting – and consistent with what you’ve said. I wasnt aware of these books that promote a growth mindset and am definitely going to look them up for our little ones 🙂 Great post, thanks for sharing it on #MarvMondays. Emily

  • RawMum says:

    Teachers will love you if you can instill this in your little ones. Thanks. #dreamteam

  • Miranda says:

    Brilliant! Only this morning. Was cheering my daughter in her reading each time she made a mistake with a word, in place of her whacking herself and calling herself stupid. Didn’t know there was a term for this – growth mindset! Love it and god for me too. Thank you

    • apositiveparent says:

      do you really should show her the DoJo video (link at bottom with all the colourful characters) its a great way to show making mistakes are all part of learning x

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