CDS Publications

The Link - Fall 2019

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THE LINK FALL 2019 | 11 to greater understanding and performance. These kids view failure as feedback about their approach, not about their ability, so they are motivated to try again when something doesn't work or stick with diffi cult tasks. On the other hand, adults who promote a fi xed mindset send the message to children that their intelligence is a static thing – that they can't grow it, it just "is." Parents who comment on how smart their children are rather than how hard they work are more likely to raise kids who give up easily in the face of setbacks ("I guess I'm not that smart after all") and who worry constantly about getting something wrong. These kids tend to avoid challenging work and equate making a mistake with being stupid. It turns out that being told they're smart makes children anxious about any situation that might reveal that they're not. In contrast, being told that a strong effort develops their brain and intelligence relieves anxiety, as kids then believe they have control over their results and can do better next time. Not surprisingly, the research tells us that kids with a growth mindset tend to achieve more in school and feel more confi dent about their abilities. Holding a narrow view of success also puts unhealthy pressure on young people. Home and school environments that genuinely recognize and support differences in children, including a wide range of interests and abilities, also recognize differences in what it means to succeed. Our children live in a much more complex world than we did growing up – and wildly more complex than their grandparents' world. The concept of life and work success today is far more diverse than it was 50 years ago and includes an expansive mix of skills, knowledge, and experience. When it comes to life skills, for example, the Conference Board

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