fbpx Fixed or Growth Mindset – Which Type of Family Are You?
Authored by Nexus Family Healing on April 28, 2022

Let’s try a quick exercise…

Your child gets an ‘A’ on their most recent test in school. As the parent, how do you respond? 
          A)    “Good job! You’re so smart!” 
          B)    “Good job! You studied, did the homework, and earned the grade.”

The first statement represents a fixed mindset; the second comes from a growth mindset. Neither of these are wrong nor bad, as encouraging your child is always a great thing to do. However, by parenting from a growth mindset, you instill the idea of resilience and learning to achieve goals. 

Let’s compare the two mindsets. 

Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset

A fixed mindset often focuses solely on the end result. People with this mindset try to only do things they know they will succeed at, seek competitive performance where they can win, often struggle with how to handle failure or change, and feel a lot of anxiety and stress around how they are perceived by others. 

A growth mindset focuses on the journey and the effort put in, and not on the end result itself. As in the example above, the parent acknowledges the child’s effort in doing their homework, studying, and working hard to get the grade (regardless of if the child is good at the subject or not). This mindset better prepares the person for change, as they welcome learning and trying new things, which ultimately helps them move through struggles. 

So, how can you move your family from a fixed to a growth mindset? 

Switching to a Growth Mindset

The first place to start is to listen to the messages you tell yourself and your family. If you hear yourself celebrating the end result, take a step back and recognize the effort that had to put in to achieve that accomplishment. 

Second, as a family, identify 2-3 goals you want to work on together where you can practice a growth mindset. Encourage your family to choose goals that push for growth. Think about what’s new that you could do. What is something that scares you or pushes you out of your comfort zones? How can you grow as a family? 

Revisit your work and progress around these goals on a monthly basis. When looking at this goal, it’s best to break it down into smaller, more measurable tasks that will help you achieve your larger goal, and make sure they are doable, they fit into your means and lifestyle, and schedule it into your week without adding stress to your plate. 

Lastly, make sure to lead by example. Celebrate the effort along the way rather than waiting for the end result. Don’t hold judgement if someone’s big goal is much smaller than you’d like it to be. Let your family grow at their own speed.

Nexus Family Healing is a national nonprofit mental health organization that restores hope for thousands of children and families who come to us for outpatient/community mental health servicesfoster care and adoption, and residential treatment. For over 50 years, our network of agencies has used innovative, personalized approaches to heal trauma, break cycles of harm, and reshape futures. We believe every child is worth it — and every family matters. Learn more at nexusfamilyhealing.org.