Does my child have a fixed mindset?

A fixed mindset is the belief that our abilities are what we can do and cannot change. For instance, a child may say they are bad at math, so they don’t bother to try. Common phrases of a fixed mindset are: “I can’t do this,” “I give up,” and “I am not going to try.” This reaction occurs when a child has failed at something and their immediate thought is to give up.

How Does This Relate to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an evidence-based therapeutic intervention to help the individual understand the relationship between our thoughts, emotions, and actions. If individuals are stuck on the thought of “I can’t do this,” then their emotions may be frustrated and hopeless, and their actions may be to refuse the task that is hard or not even try. If an individual is stuck in this cycle and stuck on a fixed mindset, how can they get out of this funk?

What is a Growth Mindset?

That’s correct, a growth mindset! A growth mindset is the belief that we can learn new things and our abilities can change. “Our brain is like a muscle; it exercises to learn new things!” By having a growth mindset, you want to try again, and feel it is okay to fail. For example, think of having a growth mindset when learning how to ride a bike. It’s okay that we may fail at first, but with practice, we can ride our bike. Common phrases of a growth mindset are: “I got this,” “I can do it,” and “With practice, I will get it.”

Did You Know There are 3 Ways to Practice a Growth Mindset?

  1. The first and most common way is to use the power of YET. The power of yet motivates you to keep practicing, and you will succeed. For instance, I can’t crawl through the tunnel; if we use the power of YET, the new phrase is: “I can’t crawl through the tunnel, YET!
  2. The second way is INSPIRE, meaning an individual thinks about a famous person or someone they look up to who has failed at first but then kept trying and became successful. Did you know that the founder of Hershey’s Chocolate went through some failures before he became the most successful chocolate company in America? He failed three times before becoming successful. He didn’t let his failures get in the way of perfecting and improving his chocolate. Here is more about his story: Milton S. Hershey – Failure: The Story of Success (
  3. The third way is AFFIRMATIONS, it is important to start your day by verbalizing positive statements about yourself. We use these phrases to be our biggest cheerleader and help build us up. Examples of statements are, “I am amazing,” “I got this,” and “I’m doing my best.”

Let’s Bring it Back to the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Relationship:

If an individual is having a growth mindset and is having the thought, “I got this,” then our emotions may be motivated and hopeful, and our actions may be to not give up and to keep practicing!

How Can Social Work Help?

If your child is often stuck on having a fixed mindset, a social worker can help the child reframe into a growth mindset. Meaning, they first would introduce the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy relationship about how that one thought can affect our emotions and actions. Then, the child would work on practicing a growth mindset. The therapist would help guide the child into reframing the fixed mindset into a growth mindset. Therefore, the child would realize and understand areas where they can reframe their fixed mindset and shift to a growth mindset.

Eyas Landing is a therapy clinic with a mission to provide evidence-based and family-centered therapy services for children, adolescents, and their families. The primary goal is to deliver relationship-based interventions within the most natural environments and to empower families to reach their full potential. To achieve this goal, our highly educated, compassionate staff dedicates time and expertise to create experiences that maximize therapeutic outcomes. The strength, determination, and perseverance of our clients are evident as they succeed in therapy, and ultimately in their daily lives.

Eyas Landing offers a wide range of comprehensive services including Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, ABA Therapy, Social Work, Family Therapy, and Neuropsych testing. Services are provided throughout the Chicagoland area via Telehealth, In-Home, and in our state of the art clinic.

Want to learn more or you have a specific question? Feel free to connect with us here!

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