This is where you get to model and teach your child the concept of mind-set. What is mind-set? Mind-set is how your mind filters what’s happening. Kids with a fixed mind-set will say, “I stink,” or “I’m a loser.” Things are set in stone and can’t be changed; end of story. But a person with a growth mind-set will say, “I didn’t do so well this time, but I can’t wait to try again next time.” They may also say, “Today didn’t go so well, but tomorrow is a new day and could be a better one.” There’s an attitude that things can, with time and effort, change and be different and better. With a growth mind-set, it’s not the end of the story.

The Word of God is filled with reassurances that God is with us, even when things feel as if they’re falling apart, or when we feel completely alone.

Teaching a Growth Mind-set

There are several practical things you can do to foster a growth mind-set in your children.

Avoid praising intelligence and sheer effort. Instead, acknowledge the importance of planning and trying new approaches. Rather than saying, “You tried your hardest and that’s all you can do,” say something like “Don’t worry if you don’t understand something right away. Focus on the next step. What do you think the next step may be?”

Present things in different ways. Expose your kids to a variety of instructions, tactics, and principles. Focus on the process not just the outcome.

Teach the value of challenges. Take time to explain the purpose for abstract skills and concepts you’re asking them to understand.

Ask them to elaborate on their thoughts and responses. Encourage your kids to expand their answers and responses.

Answer their “why” questions with a good reason and not “because I said so.”

Develop learning or growing goals. Sit down with each child and help him or her come up with learning goals he or she wants to pursue (within reason, of course).

Ask questions more often than you offer answers or statements.

Help them learn to use the word “yet.” If your child says, “I can’t do long division!” have him restate his frustration by saying, “I can’t do long division yet.”

Keep a record of their successes. Make a folder or a computer file and routinely enter any kind of achievement your children gain, whether it’s academic, behavioral, athletic, or in an extracurricular activity. Review their successes often.