Why mindset can affect how a child reacts to bullying

Learn about: Why mindset can affect how a child reacts to bullying from Carol Dweck, PhD,...
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Why mindset can affect how a child reacts to bullying

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A teenager's mindset can have a tremendous effect on how he or she reacts to bullying. My student, David Yager, just did these fantastic studies showing that when students have a fixed mindset about themselves and others, and they are bullied, they feel, "that's a bad person," "maybe I'm a loser," "I hate that person; "I'm ashamed of myself." You would be shocked at how many kids say they want violent revenge, whether they take it or not. But we showed that when kids are in a growth mindset or we teach them the growth mindset about themselves and others, the idea that people can change. When they are bullied, the understand that this is a person with thoughts and feelings and may be acting badly, but is not a bad person or a permanently bad person. They don't feel like they are a deficient person, who will always be a victim. Lo and behold, they respond so much more constructively. Many of them even have empathy for the person who has to do this to get their self-esteem. The growth mindset has a real role to play, we're learning, of this whole process of why people bully and how teens respond to bullying.

Learn about: Why mindset can affect how a child reacts to bullying from Carol Dweck, PhD,...

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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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