The growth mindset tips in this article will help you interact with your teenager in a way that keeps the relationship strong while encouraging them to grow and develop as an individual.
1. SHARE FACTS ABOUT THE BRAIN
• Encourage them to learn about the parts of the brain, how feelings are expressed, and new information is processed.
• Let them explore words like “neuroplasticity”.
• Reinforce that their brain has the ability to learn new skills – and improve old ones throughout their entire lifetime.
2 THIS IS AN ONGOING CONVERSATION
• Encourage teens to look for examples of growth mindset in everyday experiences (someone on TV, in the news, or at school).
• Share ways you are growing and learning even as an adult.
• Share the Famous Failures Kit with them
(available on biglifejournal.com). Read the stories together as a family and share things you know about these people.
3. GOALS ARE GOOD, PRESSURE ISN’T
• Focus on the process of goal-setting rather than the goals themselves.
• Use creative options such as bucket lists or vision boards – either as a family or individually.
• In the Big Life Journal – Teen Edition, there are a lot of fun goal-setting exercises your teen can do on their own.
4. MAKE SPACE FOR FAILURE
• Rather than trying to make the path smooth for your teens or keeping them perpetually happy, focus on your role as support, or staying close at hand.
• Carol Dweck recommends “addressing the setback head-on and talking to your children about the next steps for learning.”
5.WHEN THINGS DON’T GO AS PLANNED BRAINSTORM SOLUTIONS TOGETHER
• Rather than telling your child to “ask the teacher for extra credit,” when they do poorly on a test, walk through what happened and explore problem-solving options with your teen.
• See what they’re comfortable with rather than dictating their next move.
6. ADDRESS LACKING SKILLS
• Problem-solving together may highlight areas where your teen needs additional help.
• Some teens are impacted by mental health concerns, such as anxiety or depression. Seek outside support for your teenager as needed.
7. LISTEN MORE THAN YOU TALK
• Ask your teen for suggestions, solutions, advice, and thoughts.
• Empathize with their perspective, rather than jumping to a solution, criticizing or judging.
• Reiterate you are willing and available when they need a listening ear.
8 WATCH YOUR REACTIONS
• Encouraging your kids to adopt a flexible growth mindset might require you to work on your own mindset, too.
• If you overreact to small infractions or mistakes, your child may be cautious about pursuing goals or may shy away from sharing challenges with
• It’s OK to struggle with a growth mindset. Let your teen know you will be working on it together!