When your child says “people are either dumb or smart” by Dr. Munn Saechao, online therapist and coach for professional women of color and child and adolescent psychotherapist in Mountain View, CA.

Most young children will develop a fixed mindset unless they grow up in homes and environments that foster and reinforce a growth mindset.

Let’s say your child comes home from school one day and states, “people are either dumb or smart,” or you either “know or don’t.” If your child continues to hold the ideology that “people are either dumb or smart,” once you’ve explained that ability is developed through learning and practice, it’s important therefore to “model” a growth mindset.

What do I mean by modeling? While at the dinner table for example, discuss your day, including set backs, challenges, strategies, what worked and didn’t work, what you learned, ways to improve, etc. You’ll be amazed at your children’s engagement and mirroring effect on your behaviors. As their primary role model, you are henceforth normalizing perseverance, openness, and learning. You’re sending the message that it’s okay to be challenged and make mistakes. In fact, these setbacks and frustrations are teachable learning moments to improve, develop, and grow.

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Disclaimer: The content in this post is only intended to increase your knowledge on parenting and child development; it is not online therapy. If you’re concerned about your child’s immediate safety please call 911 and consult with a licensed clinician about any clinical symptoms you are observing in your child.