Focusing Your Parenting Energy

Focusing Your Parenting Energy

Does your child give up easily when things get tough?  They are likely just missing an important coping skill that can be easily built with the right focus.  Growth mindset, grit, purpose, self-compassion and other coping skills play a big role in whether your child will persevere in the face of challenges.


Curious which skill to focus on?  Book an umbrella assessment for your child with our founder Dr. Jen by filling out our Contact form here and find out where best to best apply your parenting energy.

Weed and Feed!  Turning a Fixed Mindset into a Growth Mindset

Weed and Feed! Turning a Fixed Mindset into a Growth Mindset

Turning a fixed mindset into a growth mindset is not always as easy task.  A wise principal here in town once said to me: “In order for a child to adopt a new strategy, it has to work better that the one they are currently using” and this is so very true.   If you notice your child has a fixed mindset about something, it’s important to find chances for a growth mindset to work better than their fixed mindset.

This is a 2-step process:

Step 1: Pay attention –  Notice what your child gets from their fixed mindset.  Maybe its you trying to make them feel better by repeating the opposite message, i.e.: of course you’re good at math, you’re very smart, etc.  Or maybe they just get to give up easily on their struggles, i.e.: soccer’s just not your thing.

Short term avoidance or ego boosting may make them feel better in the short term but won’t build growth mindset, a critical skill they will need for success later in life. Remember the replacement strategy has to work better so try to weed out all the times you accidentally reinforce their fixed mindset.

Step 2:  Feed their growth mindset – Look for specific chances for them to use a growth mindset and refocus your parenting power on those wins instead.  For a child struggling with a subject, break it down into small attainable bits and very specific goals that, with effort, will improve.  Recognise your child for the effort put in to achieve the outcome. Remind them that a fixed mindset keeps you stuck in one spot, while using a growth mindset helps your brain get stronger – like exercise!

The changes won’t happen overnight, but the more times the new strategy works, the more likely it is that your child will replace the old, less effective one with the new and more successful option.  What we feed will grow, so feed your attention to the mindset you want to be strong in your child’s brain.

See our kick-off post for this month here to read a review of what fixed versus growth mindset behaviour is.

Featured image by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

Conversations with Kids: Getting Perfect without Hard Work = It was Too Easy!

Conversations with Kids: Getting Perfect without Hard Work = It was Too Easy!

Effort is positive and means we are working up to our potential instead of choosing easy things that we know we can do without trying. Sometimes through a genuine desire to see our children happy and successful, we accidentally give them the wrong message about effort.

To help your child build a growth mindset, don’t over focus your praise on perfect scores, especially if these were achieved with little effort.  Your children want your approval and if they think perfect scores are what you are most proud of they will gravitate towards easy tasks that will earn your praise.  This will actually slow their growth considerably. When we say things like: “Great job, you got perfect without even trying. You’re so smart!” we send our children the message that trying hard means you aren’t as smart.  This leads to avoidance of learning situations where they may not be able to achieve perfection.

Instead, praise them when they put in a lot of effort, perseverance, and when they take on tasks that are just above their ability level.  This will help their brains grow quickly, accelerate their learning, and build a growth mindset.

Featured image by Eepeng Cheong on Unsplash.

This Month’s Skill is Growth Mindset!

This Month’s Skill is Growth Mindset!

Welcome to November and Growth Mindset Month at the Umbrella Project! This month we will be focusing on understanding Growth Mindset and the parenting strategies you can use to help your child develop this beneficial skill.

Why is a growth mindset important for my child?

The brain works a lot like a muscle: the more effort we put in, the bigger it grows.  With a growth mindset, children believe that their abilities can grow and improve with effort.  This mindset can help create a love of learning and an excitement around new challenges.

The opposite is a fixed mindset.  With a fixed mindset, we believe that our intelligence and talent are something we are born with and can’t change. This leads our children to the false assumption that talent alone, without hard work, will lead them to success. Extensive research has shown that children with this mindset give up easily and often avoid challenges.

Research shows that students who have a growth mindset will often have better test scores, persevere through difficult challenges and take more enjoyment from learning.

Check in regularly this month for tips and stories that will build this valuable tool in your home!

Featured image by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash.