The concept of “growth mindset” – opposed to “fixed mindset” – was discovered by famous Stanford Professor Carol Dweck. It is the belief that our intelligence and abilities in domains as diverse as math, language, creativity, relationship, leadership or sports are not fixed at birth, but can be developed and improved with the right state of mind and behaviors. A growth mindset style of parenting is particularly important since it can decisively help our children to thrive.

Extensive research has demonstrated that students with a growth mindset adopt more effective learning strategies, work harder, overcome setbacks more easily, are more persistent, and as a result achieve better. On the contrary, children with a fixed mindset consider effort as a sign of incompetence and are rather reluctant to increase effort when needed, what leads them to be less successful. 

Parents who think that their kids are either smart or not may praise them for being smart, rather than congratulate them for the good work that led to success. The problem is that, when we praise our children for their smartness, they tend to believe their mind is carved in stone. Not a very motivating idea.

Picture: Professor Carol S. Dweck