Why not embrace a ‘growth mindset’ in time for International Day of Families?
Published:27 April 2017
TOP: Family image courtesy Kat Grigg via Flickr Creative Commons. BELOW: CQUniversity Research Fellow Dr Delwar Akbar.
With the International Day of Families coming up on 15 May, a CQUniversity Research Fellow says there could be benefits for couples to embrace a ‘growth mindset’ and for those who are parents to encourage children to do the same.
Dr Delwar Akbar says it’s important to realise that everyone has both fixed and growth mindsets and their proportion depends how each person has been raised in terms of their cultural settings and socio-economic and educational environment.
“Mindset has very powerful effects on our beliefs and the way we deal with people as well as the way we manage our personal, family and organisational issues,” he says.
“A fixed mindset enables feelings of powerlessness and learned helplessness. In contrast, a growth mindset underpins feelings of empowerment and drives motivation and achievement.
“In our family life, partners can make mistakes but a growth mindset will help strengthen the relationship by taking lessons from the mistakes, providing more patience and compassion among the partners’ way of life and decision making.
“In our relationship, we expect validation and positive answers from our partner and this is a typical example of a fixed mindset; but in a growth mindset partners likes to challenge and encourage each other to do the job in better way; a way that makes for win-win happiness for both partners, bringing long-term peace in their family life.”
Dr Akbar says parents can have a very powerful effect on their kids’ beliefs and activities.
“Praising children’s success is a must as well as looking at children’s failure in a positive way.
“We just rallied in favour of science worldwide, especially in Australia, Europe and the USA; and science gave us a clear message that children’s brains continue to grow, however a fixed mindset can let them down and the parents should be cautious of how they nurture their kids’ growth mindset.
Dr Akbar says the simple device of changing words can change mindsets. For example, instead of saying ‘I’m not good at this’ you can ask ‘what am I missing?’.
He encourages people to practice ‘iterative feedback’ and to keep focusing on improving.
“Find out what works what doesn’t work, then why it doesn’t work and seek out challenges,” he says.
* CQUniversity is ranked among the world’s top 2 percent of universities and has recently been recognised as one of the world’s top 100 universities under 50 years of age by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.