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Fostering a Growth Mindset in Children


Are we encouraging our children to have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset? The type of mindset that children develop early on in life can make a profound difference in their approach to learning, resiliency and ultimate success.

We may have the best intentions in lavishing our children with praise about their talents and intelligence, however by doing so, we may be unknowingly setting them up for difficulties. Carol Dweck is a psychologist who coined the terms fixed versus growth mindset:


Dweck’s research shows that children who were encouraged for their efforts versus praised for their intelligence were much more likely to welcome mistakes as part of learning, to persevere, and to take on more challenging tasks.  These children demonstrably achieved higher than those with a fixed mindset who wanted to ‘save face’ and appear smart.

Here is a quick engaging video detailing more of Carol Dweck’s research findings:


While it is key to help our children develop a growth mindset in their formative years, it is never too late for any of us to identify some patterns in our lives that can use some reframing as well.  Carol Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success is an accessible and enjoyable read (now in paperback).

Here is an additional great article:


Carol Dweck gives parents a great reminder about what our children need most from us:

“If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning.” 



Katherine Jarrell RSW, MSW, is trained in many areas including anxiety, depression, and parenting concerns, plus many more. Her expertise is drawn from her experiences from working at AHS, EAP Programs, FCSS in Fort McMurray, and with the CNIB.  For more information on Katherine and her work, click here to link to her full bio page.