I’m often asked by parents how they can help their children to be more resilient and less vulnerable to mental health problems. Although we can’t stop all mental health problems, we can help children and young people to develop habits that build their wellbeing and resilience. But, these habits can’t exist on their own. They need to grow out of strong, supportive, nurturing relationships that children can develop with their parents, caregivers and teachers.
Children are little super sleuths and they will pick up on everything we say and do, even when we (and they) don’t realise it’s happening. Recent research has found that one of the important things you will be shaping, often without realising, is your child’s beliefs about his or her own intelligence.
Smarter, Stronger, Better Than Yesterday – The Beliefs That Will Make the Difference (And science has proven it.)
One of the most remarkable and oh-so-good-to-be-human findings in the last decade or so is that we human type beings can change our brain. Clever aren’t we. (Go ahead – straighten your crown.) In an exciting twist on the nature/nurture debate, it turns out that what’s more important than either nature or nurture, is what we believe.
An abundance of research has consistently demonstrated that a growth mindset – the belief that intelligence, ability and performance can all be improved with effort – will improve academic performance. The research is compelling.
Increasingly however, our schools are streaming students based on academic ability, a practiced steeped in the idea that ability and intelligence are fixed, and one that has been proven to undermine academic achievement.