"You're such a great athlete!"
'You're so smart!"
"You're jump shot is amazing!"
Most of you would agree that those statements above would be classified as a compliment and that you could see yourself saying those words, or similar phrases, to your children. What if I told you that those are not compliments at all and would actually be detrimental to your child's development and growth? Would you believe me?
Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck would say that those statements help generate a fixed mindset, one where individuals believe that their intelligence or talents are fixed traits. They believe that because of their talent that they will be successful. You are good at some things, bad at others, and there is no way to change that. They are afraid of challenges because they are afraid of failure.
She also talks about a growth mindset. People with a growth mindset believe that their basic abilities can be developed over time with work and dedication. This view fosters growth and values the process of becoming great at something. Individuals with a growth mindset love challenges and see them as an opportunity to grow, rather than an opportunity to fail.
The video below explores a study of Dweck's and the concept of mindset. Trevor Ragan of Train Ugly, does a great job explaining the study and the results. After you watch the video, take another look at the statements above and think of different ways that you could rephrase those statements to add to the growth and development of your child, instead of being a detriment.
About the Author
Ryan Lockard, CSCS, CFNS, is the head trainer and founder of Specialty Athletic Training. He is President of the Autism Society of Oregon's Board of Directors and is accredited by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, as well as by the International Sports Science Association (ISSA) as a Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist. Ryan has worked with individuals with special needs since 2007 and has over 10,000 hours of 1:1 instruction working with individuals that have various special needs.