We all sometimes wail “I CAN’T cope!”, “I am at the END of my patience!”, or “I AM A FAILURE in the face of a child with High Learning Potential (HLP)!” Can ‘growth mindset’ thinking help us to cope better as parents and carers of children with high learning potential?

What is Growth/Fixed Mindset?

In 10 Questions about Mindset and High Learning Potential”, the blog describes how the buzzwords ‘growth mindset’ and ‘fixed mindset’ burst onto the scene in 2006 when educational researcher and psychologist Carol Dweck released her book, Mindset; the New Psychology of Success. It also explained some key terms, including:

Growth Mindset – the belief that one can boost intelligence and develop new skills through effort, tenacity, experience and learning from others. Everyone follows a different path and fulfilling one’s individual potential can require perseverance and possibly hours or years of hard work.

Fixed Mindset – the belief that certain skills are ‘for others’; that one’s ability levels are set in stone and cannot be improved upon; and that effort is a bad thing – an undesirable indication that you don’t have (and never will have) the required ability. Fixed mindset makes young and old alike afraid to tackle new projects or hobbies as they don’t want to ‘look stupid’.

Saying that you “CAN’T cope” is applying a fixed mindset to your experience of HLP parenting, instead of growing through it.

Why Do I Get Triggered and Feel So Overwhelmed?

Feeling overwhelmed is a common trait for parents of children with high learning potential. Often a trigger is the immediate situation we are presented with. Depending on the age of your child this could be: “I really ‘can’t cope’ with you: waking me up in the night to discuss the solar system/rejecting certain foods or clothing/refusing to get into the car/arguing with me about homework/running rings around me mentally..!”

Underlying this is also the barrage of intensity and persistence often linked to dealing with an HLP youngster. This can trigger people day in, day out…and even during the night!

Another trigger is rooted in our own individual life story to this point. Ask yourself, how have I been ‘taught’ to think, what do I believe about myself and my capabilities – and what is my related ‘mindset’?

How, therefore can you grow beyond these negative feelings?

From ‘Not Yet’ to ‘Now!’  

Carol Dwight firmly believes in the power of ‘Not Yet’. For example, “I ‘can’t cope’…yet!” or “I’m learning, but I have not yet managed to keep calm/get everyone to bed on time/learned how to encourage high learning potential thinking in my child even when their understanding is beyond mine…”

After conducting a specialist High Learning Potential Assessment for Children, Potential Plus UK sometimes encourages a child to consider “what it is they need more of; time, practise, help or information”. These principles apply equally to us as adults. If we ‘can’t cope’, (well, not yet…), what is it that we need more of? Seek out the expert resources, books, classes or personal trainer you need to support you on your own journey.

Fostering Growth Mindset in Adults

If a scorable Mindset Quiz would get you started, visit https://oregonask.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/nurturing-growth-mindset-in-adults.pdf. This is a succinct guide to growth mindset thinking, highlighting scientific research into how distinct regions of our brains grow when we learn and practise certain skills. It is key information for when our high potential learner rustles up a new challenge or argument and we need to have faith that we can keep building resilience and be better equipped next time!

If you like defined methods,  7 Growth Mindset Activities For Adults, suggests great strategies for getting started, persisting, considering a journal or setting ‘SMART goals’ and gives pointers for further research. Remember, as with steady progress at the gym, “your abilities are something you can grow over time, like a muscle”.

Top Lifestyle Tips!

Surround yourself only with honest, wise, positive influencers with a growth mindset. This doesn’t just mean the friends you spend your time with, but also how much attention you give to colleagues, tv soaps or social media.

Learn with your HLP youngster and develop growth mindset together.

Observe how you verbally encourage your child; use the same words to nurture and motivate yourself!

To keep you on course, how about some artwork for your home or workplace?

Notice, as you watch children’s tv or do the bedtime story, that many tales are perfect examples of triumphant growth mindset in action!

Basically, just keep growing from ‘Not Yet’ to ‘Now!’, one day at a time!

Other Resources

Carol Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, or watch the YouTube video of her  ‘Power of Yet’  TED Talk

https://compassmylife.com/growth-mindset-when-you-are-an-adult/ is a summary guide, with support at https://compassmylife.com/ayearofbetter/.

https://brownbagteacher.com/growth-mindset/ works with ‘Not Yet!’ and Giraffe’s Can’t Dance (Giles Andreae & Guy Parker-Rees).