Why does a fixed mindset limit kids?

Psychologist & Author Carol Dweck, PhD, shares advice for parents on brain development in children on why a child's fixed mindset can inhibit their ability to learn and be confident
Brain Development In Children - Why A Fixed Mindset Limits Kids
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Why does a fixed mindset limit kids?

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One of my favorite quotes is from Benjamin Barber, a political scientist. He said, "I don't divide the world into the weak and the strong, the successes and the failures; I divide the world into the learners and the non-learners." Why would a child become a non-learner? The answer is because of a fixed mindset. When a child has a fixed mindset, meaning that they feel that have a fixed amount of intelligence or talent; every mistake means, "Oh, maybe I don't have enough." Every time you have to try really hard at something, "Maybe I'm not good at this." A fixed mindset makes children insecure about their ability every time they go into a new situation. Over time, they may decide it's safer to do what I'm sure I can do, and it's not safe to go beyond my comfort zone and try new things. Our research has shown that a fixed mindset may want to make children reject new things, just to try and stay and rest in their comfort zone.

Psychologist & Author Carol Dweck, PhD, shares advice for parents on brain development in children on why a child's fixed mindset can inhibit their ability to learn and be confident

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Carol Dweck, PhD

Psychologist & Author

Carol S. Dweck, PhD, is a leading researcher in the field of motivation and is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford. Her research focuses on why students succeed and how to foster their success. More specifically, her work has demonstrated the role of mindsets in success and has shown how praise for intelligence can undermine students’ motivation and learning.

She has also held professorships at and Columbia and Harvard Universities, has lectured to education, business, and sports groups all over the world, and has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and to the National Academy of Sciences. She recently won the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association, the highest award in Psychology. 

Her work has been prominently featured in such publications as The New Yorker, Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, and The London Times, with recent feature stories on her work in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Washington Post, and she has appeared on such shows as Today, Good Morning America, NPR’s Morning Edition, and 20/20. Her bestselling book Mindset (published by Random House) has been widely acclaimed and has been translated into 20 languages.

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