Kids inherently face a difficult path when they enter this world full of negativity and instant gratification. So how do you teach them grit in today’s day and age? Teach your kid to roll with the punches.
What research calls this is teaching them to have a “growth mindset.” The idea behind a growth mindset was developed by Carol Dweck, professor at Stanford University and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, who “came up with the growth mindset idea.” Dweck looks at the mind as being able to, in simple terms, see things in two ways: fixed or growing. You can look at things in life as being fixed in position, as being unchangeable, or you can look at the world as a place where you can grow and learn from your mistakes and from failures and successes. With kids, to teach them grit, it is essential that you teach them how to develop and begin the journey of having a growth mindset. The greatest difficulty in understanding a growth mindset, however, is that “A growth mindset is not something you declare, it’s a really difficult journey you take over a long period of time.” You must teach your kids to roll with the punches over time to teach them grit, to teach them what a growth mindset is.
The thing about a growth mindset is that it allows kids to do more. It allows them to keep pushing when they have failed and to keep looking for a better way to live and succeed. “When people are in a fixed mindset, they believe their basic qualities, their talents, abilities, intelligence are just fixed traits, they have a certain amount and that’s it. When they’re in this mindset they often become concerned with how much they have,” says Dweck. Rather than trying to get better, they see their life as a standstill. They see their traits and attributes as set pieces of their personality and they are unwilling to change. This makes it difficult when failures happen because these fixed mindsets are predestined to want to simply give up and move on. However, “when people are in a growth mindset, they look at their talents and abilities as things that can be developed through hard work, good strategies, or help and input from others.” When these people fail, they look at their failure and learn from it before jumping right back into the game. With teaching your kids to have a growth mindset, you teach them grit. “They’re more willing to jump in, take a challenge, and roll with the punches because they’re not seeing everything as reflecting on their deep permanent ability.”