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45: Raising Self Motivated Successful Kids – Growth Vs. Fixed Mindset

By January 8, 2019November 9th, 2023Mastermind Parenting Podcast
Raising Self Motivated Successful Kids - Growth Vs. Fixed Mindset
In this episode, I discuss the book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Dr. Carol Dweck.
I think you guys are going to be surprised about the nuanced ways we reinforce a fixed mindset mentality rather than encouraging our kids to truly succeed and grow.

Topics covered:
  • Dr. Carol Dweck and the difference between fixed and growth mindset
  • Dr. Dweck invites us to dump the overpraising and everyone gets a trophy mentality – the false self-esteem movement
  • This is not about telling kids they can do anything; overpraising creates false hopes without a plan and that will lead to a fixed mindset and a dead-end
  • It’s about helping kids gain the skills and find the resources to make progress toward their goals
  • We are all a combo of fixed and growth mindset and understanding what triggers our fixed mindset
  • Dr. Dweck teaches us that our measurement for success and what we have thought motivated our kids to grow into achievers has been wrong
  • We’ve been very focused on external motivators and threats, which might work temporarily but ultimately sabotage long-term success

As always, thanks for listening, and be sure and head over to Facebook and you can join my free group Mastermind Parenting Community, where we post tips and tools and do pop up Live conversations where I do extra teaching and coaching to support you in helping your strong-willed children so that they can FEEL better and DO better. If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it!

About Randi Rubenstein

Randi Rubenstein helps parents with a strong-willed kiddo become a happier family and enjoy the simple things again like bike rides and beach vacays.

She’s the founder of Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast, and author of The Parent Gap. Randi works with parents across the U.S.

At Mastermind Parenting, we believe every human deserves to have a family that gets along.

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0 (0s):
You’re listening to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast with Randi Rubenstein episode 45.

1 (6s):
Hey, podcast listeners. If you happen to have a strong-willed kid who is kind of pushing everyone to hear buttons lately, I’ve a resource for you. I made you guys have free guide where you are going to get some tools and tips and strategies to quickly get on the road to creating a happier household. I know you’re pulling your hair out. I wanted to make you something so you can start getting some quick wins and building some momentum. So if you want to grab your copy, just go to Mastermind Parenting dot com forward slash Free Guide and I hope you enjoy it. My name is Randi Rubenstein and welcome to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast where we believe when your thoughts grow the conversations in your home flow.

0 (57s):
Well, hi guys, today, I want to talk to you about Raising Self Motivated Successful Kids and particularly I want to discuss the growth mindset versus the fixed mindset. And I’m basing this off of a book by Dr. Carol Dweck, which is called the Mindset the new site. It’s just called mindset, the new psychology of success. So this book by Dr. Dweck is a long book. And what I have learned to realize in all my years of reading books like this, that is that most people, most parents are not reading these books.

0 (1m 37s):
So I kind of pride myself on offering the cliff notes and just putting my own spin. So this is kind of the CliffNotes of this book, and I’m going to combine it with some or a few other things. And this is my interpretation of the book. If this is something that interests you are, I encourage you to read it. I thought it was kind of a long read, but I read this kind of stuff at night, or like in the middle of the night when I wake up. So I didn’t know, it doesn’t really bother me when it’s a long read, because it’s like, I read a few pages and then I go back to sleep. But I thought that this book was not only did she make great points and I have read so many things about it.

0 (2m 18s):
I think she has also a Ted talk on this. I also found that the way she teaches her concept, she uses a lot of metaphors and talks a lot about sports. And, and so it just makes sense. She’s not, I, I found that it was not a typical book that’s speaking like in a clinician language or my only, my only I’m, it’s not even a it’s, it’s not even a criticism, but my only thing that I think would, would possibly dissuade you from reading it is that it’s just a long, but her points are awesome. So let’s talk about, Mindset what she explained with Dr.

0 (2m 59s):
Dweck explains it is that there’s a difference between fixed mindset and growth mindset. And so the, the growth mindset is basically focusing on the process and the journey that leads to the big results, right? Like when we talk about Success and you define Success, it’s the reason why we live in such this test, taking culture in everyone, talking about where their kids going to college and posting that stuff on Facebook. And it used to be about becoming a doctor or a lawyer, like what we were so focused on Successful re results. And there’s actually a non superficial reason why we are focused on that.

0 (3m 42s):
It’s really kind of primal for us because we raise our kids. And when they leave our nest, right, when they leave our cave, we want to know that they can provide a cave for them. It’s the reason why there is so much money is such a loaded conversation in a relationship, but it really does tie in to our primal needs of as parents. We want to know that our kids are gonna be able to provide for themselves. So when they achieve air quotes and succeed and all of these kind of traditional ways, it’s the sense of comfort of O they’re going to be OK, they’re going to be OK. They’re going to be able to put a really nice cave over their head.

0 (4m 25s):
And so that’s what happens. And that’s kind of how we got into this whole process, but now we’re, there’s, there’s a whole mess and it’s causing a lot of pressure on everyone. A lot of anxiety it’s causing it’s causing people a lot of unhappiness. And so books like this by Dr. Dweck are just kind of helping us to like, look at this situation through a different lens and get a little bit curious as to, you know, This all of these intentions are, or are decent intentions. We want to know that our kids are going to be okay and they’re going to be able to provide for themselves.

0 (5m 9s):
How do we change this process? So when we’re moving towards like, like a redefinition of the word Success, which to me, Success, I mean, I’m not anti money and nice things, love, love of money and nice things, really love positive emotions, really love connected relationships, really love living a life that feels purposeful and connected and driven. And, and so that would be my definition of success. And so of course I want all of that. And then some for my kids. And I think that, you know, the most common answer, if you ask any parent is what do you want for your kids?

0 (5m 54s):
It’s I want my kids to be happy and think that happiness really kind of goes hand in hand to all with all those things that I just said. So when we talk about the growth mindset, right, you were talking about switching to the focus, being on the process, in the journey that leads to those big results. I just named, and it’s not necessarily about just the easy windfall or, Oh, they get an a plus just because everything just comes naturally. And they were born with all of this brilliant or achieving some, you know, momentary honor that gives you the bragging rights.

0 (6m 35s):
Like your kids are a straight a student, or they got into a certain school or a certain college or their, this kind of athlete. Right. And, and this is, that’s the thing that that’s the fixed mindset. The fixed mindset is things come easily, or you don’t have to work that hard. It’s kind of a luck of a draw. You’re like born naturally gifted or naturally beautiful are naturally thin. And you don’t have to work at anything. Somebody taught me a term recently that in Ivy league colleges, there’s this term called ducking. I think I’ve talked about this, maybe in a podcast. How about it’s like ducks above the water. They all just look like they’re, it’s effortless in their gliding, but underneath the water, they are just like working like maniacs to get from point a to point B.

0 (7m 23s):
And so that’s very common in Ivy league schools where everyone just wants to act like, Oh, this girl. Yeah. Oh, I forgot. We had a test. Like I barely studied. Right? So underneath the water, they’re working like crazy to study and cram and constantly stay a step ahead. But on top of the water, they, they, you know, they never let them see you sweat. Oh. And this all comes so easily. That’s the Fixed, Mindset, they’ve been raised with that. Fixed Mindset and she talks a lot about that. How, you know, people who believe that thing, that they didn’t have a natural born talent and they just kind of coast off of that.

0 (8m 6s):
And they don’t think that they ever need to work hard to continue growing and evolving and improving on that natural born talent will ultimately they end up sabotaging their own success and she gives a lot of great examples. Like it’s kind of the difference between John McEnroe and Michael Jordan. And she just talks about how Michael Jordan was not that super natural athlete. He had a growth mindset. It was about the process and the journey, and constantly working and evolving and missing a shot and going for a shot and missing a shot and ending a playoff and being right back there and practicing some more and practicing some more and practicing some more.

0 (8m 50s):
And then there was the John McEnroe who is born as such in naturally athlete, but he was so stuck in the mic in a fixed mindset that anytime he had a human moment or a bad day or bad match, or what have you, he would blame, you know, he would blame, he would lose his temper. And so ultimately his Mindset is what did I am in? And, you know, failed marriages that terrible temper, horrible reputation, just so much anger living in so much anger. And he had been born in such a naturally gifted athlete, but he through it all away because of that, Fixed Mindset.

0 (9m 37s):
So another concept that Dr Dweck brings up is to dump the overpraising and everyone gets a trophy mentality. This is our false self-esteem movement. Like it came from the best of intentions and nobody’s buying it. It’s not authentic. Kids do not believe you when you overpraise them. Y’all know It, you know, and if they don’t, they Kids know, they know you’re blowing smoke and they don’t appreciate it. And the everyone gets a trophy or everyone gets a ribbon. They just started expecting it, but they don’t value it.

0 (10m 17s):
It doesn’t feel the same as if when you earned, if it was a, an actual race or a competition and you worked hard and you earned it, or if you came in second or if you didn’t earn it and you’re disappointed, and somebody teaches you, who loves you? That, of course, you’re disappointed. Cause they know that they know how to do empathy. And you worked really hard or maybe you didn’t work really hard, but you wanted that. So, you know what we’re gonna, we’ll talk through this will process this, lets figure out what you gotta do to get the trophy next time. Cause I can see that you really want it.

0 (10m 59s):
So really cleaning up that whole false self esteem movement and the growth mindset learning about the growth mindset really helps you to do so. She says, this is about work ethic, learning failure, not being a bad thing and ultimately building resilience, which I think we’ve heard over and over again, the resiliency, the ability to bounce back, even after you’ve gone through some kind of defeat or adversity like that is the true key to happiness kingdom in the long run. She also says, this is not about telling kids that they can do anything.

0 (11m 39s):
That’s creating false hopes without a plan. I like how she kind of dispel some of these things that are so many of us have. It’s like when I tell people, stop saying, I’m proud of you and good job. And they’re like, well, you know, or stop doing timeout like, huh? You know? So I like, she dispels some of these things that we thought were a big improvement. You can do anything. You can do anything. She was like, no, it’s in authentic. It’s a false hopes. We need a plan. She says, it’s about helping kids gain the skills and find the resources to make progress towards their goals. Otherwise it’s just empty. Reassurement an empty reassurance. It’s about putting the onus on the student in a supportive way and helping them reach their goals.

0 (12m 22s):
Empty reassurance. Think about that. You guys like no one wants to be lied to no one wants to smoke, blown up their, but it’s just, we all are on to each other. We’re all on to ourselves. And our kids want us to be real with them and we don’t need to beat them up, but they just want us to be honest and to be supportive and to be here for them to be empathetic. So in other thing that Dr Dweck says that she says were all a combo of fixed and growth mindsets and understanding what, what triggers our Fixed Mindset when it rears its ugly head. So when it shows our, when that fixed mindset shows up and it tries to talk us into avoiding challenges or a beats us up when we fail at something, right?

0 (13m 9s):
Like its like, Oh no, no, no, you can’t do that. This is too hard. This is exhausting. You’re going to look stupid. You might as well just stay in the cave. And binge-watch on Netflix and eat chocolate. That is much safer. You know? So what do we do to counteract it? When our Fixed Mindset is showing up, we got to remember, it’s just trying to keep us safe and the cave and persuade us that it’s not worth it to grow, evolve and look imperfect. That’s all, which is the literally I call that the lizard brain it’s the oldest part of our brain is just trying to keep you safe. It’s much safer in the cave, right? There’s no buddy, that’s going to possibly say something to you that might make you feel embarrassed or feel a negative emotion.

0 (13m 55s):
So you might as well just stay in the cave. And the problem is that you guys, if you’re not growing, you’re not living. So staying in the cave is a life of complacency. And as any of us who have fallen into those, you know, living the days in the, you know, Knight’s in the weeks and the months in the years that feel complacent, it’s stagnation, it feels like you’re dying a slow death. It’s not living. So when that lizard brain shows up, we got to know how to say like, you know, got it. I got it. I know you wanna keep me safe. I’m going to do this anyway. It’s okay. It’s okay. Even if I fail, I’m going to learn something like if I’m not learning, I’m not growing.

0 (14m 38s):
She Dr. Dweck teaches us that our measurement for success and what we have thought, Motivated our kids to grow into a cheeser achievers, Xi users. That’s what I should. That’s the new name cheeseburgers. Cause it is cheesy. When we sit there and talk about all of the things our kids are achieving, she says it has been wrong. Okay. It’s been wrong to focus on the, a, over the effort. What did you learn? You know, like L like teaching our kids to do that rote memorization, just to go for the highest grade on the test to constantly be looking for those external motivators versus what did you learn?

0 (15m 19s):
How can I help you? Oh, wow. You know what an important lesson instead of processing, instead of focusing on the process and ultimately going constantly to the results constantly to here’s the grade they got, or the report card they got and, and, and focusing on the lower grades, Vs what did they do to earn this grade? And how did they learn? And what was the most impactful thing were just, we get so focused on the, on the end grade vs the process. It’s it’s wrong. That’s not how we teach our kids to achieve and succeed.

0 (15m 60s):
It’s it’s teaching them to just go for the quick hit. And the band-aid, we’ve been so focused on external motivators and threats, which might work temporarily, but ultimately sabotage their long term success. So when we bribed him and we reward him or we threatened him that we are going to take something away, it may motivate them for a minute, but then the teenage years are going to kick in and you know what happens then? And what happens when they go to college? What happens when they be, when they get their first job? Like if their not motivating themselves, if they don’t have that intrinsic motivation fostered on the inside and they’re not into having a growth mindset and they don’t know what that looks like, like who’s going to be pushing them at that point.

0 (16m 51s):
Maybe it’s going to be that they just want more and more and more money. That might be the external motivator or the praise from their boss. But what if they don’t have a boss that praises them? And what if they choose an industry where money isn’t, you know, the valued measure of currency? Like what if there’s not a lot of money in their industry? Or what if they choose an industry that is all about money and they’re just completely miserable. And the minutes during the day feel like the longest hours of their life, w you know, who wants to live that life? So, so, yeah, so I love her sports metaphors. I really encourage you guys to pick up and watch one of her Ted talks.

0 (17m 35s):
And, and the other thing I think she talks about then I think is interesting is she talks about, she says we’ve made, we’ve neglected that teachers, parents, and coaches have the ability to affect our kids’ performance and future and, and future based performance based on our belief in them. So they’re, our kids are so affected by our messages and whether we believe in them, how we advocate for them, I just finished reading the Michelle Obama book. And she talks about how in sixth, in second grade, she had a really crummy teacher, just like a, like burnout, just lazy negative teacher and her mom who was pretty quiet woman.

0 (18m 21s):
She went and she, and she talked about, Oh, she advocated. And she wasn’t gonna leave Michelle in there for a whole year. And next thing you know, her mom quietly advocated, and they developed this kind of a gifted and talented multi-level class for, with multiple grades. And Michelle says that that’s really where things started to shift and change for her. She started to see herself differently. She saw herself as a person worthy of being advocated for, and the kids in this little special pullout class for gifted and talented kids of all the different grades. They started having kind of some special treatment and being taken on a certain field trips and things like that.

0 (19m 2s):
And that really helped them to develop into kids that really believed in themselves. And then many more opportunities opened up because of that. And Michelle’s point is kind of like, I really wasn’t special. I was in the South side, I was a South side kid in Chicago. I was going to a public school. I wasn’t born a genius. Like my family was a working class family. It, this could happen for me. And I could end up as the first lady one day. And I went to Princeton and Harvard, right? Like she is like, how many other kids out there are there that can be doing the same. And so just to end this podcast.

0 (19m 45s):
So I want to talk about Dr. Dweck says our legacy as parents, teachers, and coaches, we’re entrusted with people’s lives. They are our responsibility and our legacy. We now know that the growth mindset has a key role to play in helping us fulfill our mission and helping them fulfill their potential, grow your mindset. Every word and action from parent to child sends a message tomorrow. Listen to what you say to your kids and tune into the messages you’re sending. Are they messages that say you have a permanent traits and I’m judging them, or are they messages that say you are a developing person and I’m interested in your development.

0 (20m 26s):
How do you use praise? Remember that praising children’s intelligence or talent tempting as it is sends a Fixed Mindset message. It makes their confidence and motivation more fragile. Instead, try to focus on the processes. They used, their strategies, effort, or choices, practice working in the process, praise into your interactions with your children, watch and listen to yourself carefully. When your child messes up. Remember that constructive criticism is feedback that helps the child understand how to fix something. It’s not the feedback that labels or simply excuses the child. At the end of each day, write down your constructive criticism. You have given to your kids.

0 (21m 7s):
Parents often set goals. Their children can work towards. Remember that having innate talent is not a goal. Expanding skills and knowledge is pay careful attention to your goals you set for your children. So I hope that helps you guys. If you’re more interested, I will put a link in the show notes to this book and to Dr. Dweck. I believe she did a Ted talk. Might just be, I think she did a Ted talk, but anyway, I will put some links in the show notes. If you guys want to check more about this out, I think it is fascinating. She makes incredible points, and I hope you found this helpful. Have a great rest of your week.

1 (21m 45s):
Hey, podcast listeners, if you identify with having a strong-willed kid and you’re ready to start taking action, because enough is enough. It’s enough walking around on eggshells constantly is getting all of those mumbled one word answers based on their irritable mood every day in the car after school, go ahead and download the free resource that I made for you to start taking action immediately and creating a happier household. It’s Mastermind Parenting dot com forward slash Free Guide to start taking action today.

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by Randi Rubenstein