Are failures opportunities to grow, or negative experiences that impede success? A study reported by NPR confirms that how parents answer that question has a profound impact on how much children think they can improve their intelligence through hard work.
"Parents are a really critical force in child development when you think about how motivation and mindsets develop," says Kyla Haimovitz a Stanford psychology professor who coauthored the study with colleague Carol Dweck. "Parents have this powerful effect really early on and throughout childhood to send messages about what is failure, how to respond to it."
Evidence shows that when children view their abilities as more pliable--something they can change over time—they deal with obstacles more constructively, but communicating that message to children is not always simple. The bottom line: “When your child is struggling on something or has setbacks, don't focus on their abilities, focus on what they can learn from it," Haimovitz says. One way, she says, is to ask a child: "How can you use this as a jumping-off point?”
We want to hear: Do you recall the messages your parents gave you about failure? How have they affected you? And how do you deal with it when your own children are frustrated by a lack of success in any given area? To join the conversation, click "comments" on our Community of Practice Forum.
If you would like to read more about creating a habit around masterful communication, check out our book: Be Quiet, Be Heard: The Paradox of Persuasion.
8/2/2016 09:19:06 am
I agree and have always tried to praise my kids' efforts rather than the results. I say, “I like how you kept trying different ways to solve the math problem and you didn't give up." I have noticed that when kids are praised for being really smart, they have struggled when they don't understand something right away because they worry that it means they aren't really smart. The same holds true for sports or any other activity. Notice and appreciate the effort and attitude that they can figure anything out when they try hard and kids will be more willing to tackle anything that comes their way and be more resilient.
8/2/2016 03:53:51 pm
So well said Heidi. Focusing on effort more than results and also attitude vs 'smartness' can lead kids to greater heights. Want to acknowledge that this is easier to say than do!
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