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.