Growth Mindset for Parents

Do you find your child being negative? Quick to give up?  Shy away from challenges? You can help your child develop a growth mindset, a can-do attitude and help your child understand that they have the capacity to learn anything.

Research shows that success is often dependent on mindset, and hard work, perseverance, and effort are all hallmarks of a growth mindset. It’s important for parents to understand how their child’s mindset influences their behaviors, motivation, and achievement.

In this class you will learn all about learning and why we often choose comfort over growth. Learn how to help your child beat the resistance and thrive in school and discover how to navigate and feel their way through struggles and failures.


Reilly Dodd, LPC

Reilly is a Licensed Professional Counselor.  She has over 12 years of experience in education both as a teacher and school counselor.  As an educator, Reilly has a unique and effective approach to counseling and understands the importance of building healthy family relationships. She loves working with children, parents and families to help them reach their full potential.  Reilly believes everyone faces challenges and loves the concept of a growth mindset to help people realize that challenge and obstacles are a natural part of the learning and growth process. Go check out what Reilly is up to on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


Week 1:  “How Learning Works and How We All Can Do It Better.”

It’s important for parents to understand how their child’s mindset influences their behaviors, motivation and achievement. Maybe there is a mindset movement picking up at your child’s school or maybe you’ve heard about it and want to learn more about it. Teachers and administrators are embracing growth mindset strategies to increase motivation more and more. We will show you how to implement similar strategies at home. 

Week 2: “The Resistance. Why We Choose Comfort Over Growth”

We often here people saywe are built to grow and develop and learn from obstacles.We understand this, we get this… but why is it so hard implement and why do our children hide from challenge, uncertainty, struggle and change? Learn how the limited beliefs we hear and tell ourselves, affect our capacity to learn and grow. 

Week 3: “The Learning Cycle…” 

We will learn how to help your child beat the resistance and thrive in school and beyond. Learning about fixed and growth mindsets will help you change destructive patterns, allowing your child to lead a happy and fulfilled life. If you can change the belief, you can change the system. 

Week 4: “Courage to Fail, Navigating and feeling your way Through the Bumps and Failures.”

What does neuroscience say about learning? Learning the science behind it will help you understand and implement powerful strategies even more. We will show you how parents can have a powerful impact on their child’s mindsets and how to beat the fear when it comes to attention, uncertainty, struggle and change. 

Week 1:  “How Learning Works and How We All Can Do It Better.”

What is Growth Mindset anyway?

Carol Dweck:  Professor of Psychology at Standard University for 30 years. Precise, investigative research.

What is the impact on how people learn? We all have a mindset. Whether you have heard about it or not. We all have an idea on how talents and abilities come from.

Mindset can make a difference.

Mindset Check Up

This short survey will give you an idea of where you’re at on the mindset spectrum. There is not right or wrong answer, but knowing this will help you better understand yourself and know how to support your child.

Two ways to look at learning when you think about skill and development.

Let’s Talk About Tigers…

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In order for our children to grow and learn we HAVE to be aware of our mindsets and we have to get out of our developmental comfort zones and into the wild. This means trying new things, working on your weaknesses, finding a better job, and being open to change when there is uncertainty.

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We all learn at the edge of our abilities and a little bit outside our comfort zone. We all have a comfort zone. If we stay there, it’s easy, we look good there. We won’t grow and develop as much as jungle tiger.

We have to acknowledge our fears, dance with fear, make mistakes, and learn to survive in the “jungle.” We want to try and be jungle tigers in every opportunity that we can…

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Let’s talk about Fears….

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GROWTH MINDSET: you believe that your skills and intelligence are things that can be developed and improved and grown. That you DO have the capacity to learn and grow. Skills are built. They are good at something because they have built that ability. You are in control on your abilities. Skills are built. Believe in the capacity to learn and grow. People that utilize this mindset tend to grow and achieve and learn more over time.

FIXED MINDSET: you believe that your skills and intelligence are set – that you have what you have. That you DON’T have the capacity to learn and grow. Skills are born. Some people are naturally good at things. You are not in control on your abilities. You can’t or don’t have to learn and grow.

The way parents talk about ability and learning can have powerful effects on their kids’ beliefs. Below are three ways parents can instill a growth mindset. And remember, developing a growth mindset in yourself and in your kids is a process that takes time. Have a growth mindset about developing a growth mindset!

  • Recognize your own mindset: Be mindful of your own thinking and of the messages you send with your words and actions.

  • Praise the process: Praising kids for being smart suggests that innate talent is the reason for success, while focusing on the process helps them see how their effort leads to success.

  • Model learning from failure: When parents talk positively about making mistakes, kids start to think of mistakes as a natural part of the learning process

WEEK 2: “The Resistance. Why We Choose Comfort Over Growth”

Welcome Back

Quick Review….

This table outlines the key characteristics (or symptoms) of the two mindsets.



We can use these two characteristics as a guide to help us understand where we and our children are on the mindset spectrum at any given time.

You can start to identify where you are on the scale and what is the cause.

What we forget is learning is hands down the most important skills. If you can do that you can get good at whatever you want. But where we struggle the most is believe we can do it.

This leads us to SFCCOHTGGAS


The Self Fulfilling Cycle of Getting Good at Stuff




Neuroscience shows your brain is a lot like a muscle: It learns by doing.

I’m squatting, you’re spotting.

The goal: 12 reps

Reps 1-3: no prob

Reps 4-7: not bad either, but I’m starting to feel it

Rep 8: It gets hard and I start to struggle a bit

You jump in and do the last 4 reps for me.

I feel better, you feel helpful… but my reps have been robbed!

Just like muscles, skills are built. They’re built through reps and practice – especially the ones that challenge and stretch us.


Three important muscles (skills) that we all need to develop

  1. Problem solving

  2. Bouncing back from adversity

  3. Dealing with change

But it’s impossible to get good at them without practice:

I can’t get good at solving problems if you solve them for me.

I can’t get good at bouncing back from adversity if I’m never allowed to fall.

I can’t get good at dealing with change if I’m not allowed to experience it.

Coach me, support me, cheer for me – but please don’t rob my reps.

Lifting weights is essentially struggling on purpose.

We understand how muscles are built – so we pick a weight and exercise that induces resistance and tension, which leads to struggle, which leads to growth. Learning can be the same.

When we teach people how their learning machine (brain) actually works – and that creativity, innovation, and growth ALL come from the obstacles, challenges, setbacks, and change that lead to desirable struggle…

We can start to seek out those situations – and struggle on purpose.

When we’re faced with a learning experience we have a choice to make:

Are we focused on progress or performance? Getting better or looking good?

Many times our default approach is to focus on performance and outcomes:

Just remember that real outcomes and real progress are a reflection of a great process. And if you want better outcomes it’s all about improving your process – we call this ‘Learning Like a Scientist‘

Week 3: “The Learning Cycle…” 

When students believe they can get smarter, they understand that effort makes them stronger. Therefore they put in extra time and effort, and that leads to higher achievement.

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Recent advances in neuroscience have shown us that the brain is far more malleable than we ever knew. Research on brain plasticity has shown how connectivity between neurons can change with experience. With practice, neural networks grow new connections, strengthen existing ones, and build insulation that speeds transmission of impulses. These neuroscientific discoveries have shown us that we can increase our neural growth by the actions we take, such as using good strategies, asking questions, practicing, and following good nutrition and sleep habits.


At the same time that these neuroscientific discoveries were gaining traction, researchers began to understand the link between mindsets and achievement. It turns out, if you believe your brain can grow, you behave differently. So the researchers asked, “Can we change mindsets? And if so, how?” This began a series of interventions and studies that prove we can indeed change a person’s mindset from fixed to growth, and when we do, it leads to increased motivation and achievement.

For example, 7th graders who were taught that intelligence is malleable and shown how the brain grows with effort showed a clear increase in math grades.

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Research shows that parents can have a powerful impact on their childrens’ mindsets. The language you use and the actions you take show your children what you expect. Giving process praise, talking about the brain, accepting mistakes as learning opportunities, and understanding the role of emotions in learning are all practices you can begin today.

Since we now know the brain is far more malleable than we once thought, we can teach our kids that they actually have control over growing their brains through the actions they take. Tell your children that when they work hard, that’s the feeling of their neurons connecting. The dendrites are reaching out to other dendrites, trying to connect to make a stronger brain.

What strengthens those connections:

  • practice

  • asking questions

  • actively participating in learning

When children learn that their brains physically change with effort, it leads to increased motivation and achievement.


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The way we praise our children can have a profound impact on their mindset. Research on praise and mindsets shows that when we praise children for being smart, it promotes a fixed mindset. It sends a message that their accomplishments are trait-based, and tied to something innate. In contrast, praising kids for working hard promotes a growth mindset. It sends a message that the child’s effort is what led them to success.

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Accept Mistakes as Learning Opportunities

One of the best ways you can model a growth mindset is to speak candidly about the mistakes you’ve made, and what you’ve learned from them. Speak positively about your mistakes and struggles, and this will show your children that taking risks and making mistakes are a natural part of the learning process. Explain to your children that trying hard things is what helps us grow, and you can’t be perfect when you try something hard!

Week 4: “Courage to Fail, Navigating and feeling your way Through the Bumps and Failures.”

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Two things get in the way of this:

  1. Fixed mindset stories.

  2. Fear. The fear of the unknown, the fear of the struggle, the fear of looking bad.

These are the biggest enemies to learning (that we have control of). 

In order to become a great learner we HAVE to overcome fear. It’s not easy, it’s not fun, but it’s something that we can all do. This video shows us how.


How do we jungle tiger more…

We have to understand fear… We have to beat fear.

Understand the Role of Emotions in Learning

When we get angry, scared, or feel threatened, our fight or flight response is activated. This can happen anytime, whether we’re scared of a spider or scared of math! Our brains are wired to protect us when we feel threatened, and stress symptoms such as sweating, stomach cramps, and your mind going blank are completely normal. There are strategies we can use when the fight or flight response tries to take over, to help us learn. One of those strategies is called Square Breathing and it helps to break down the adrenaline that is flooding the bloodstream and preventing learning from occurring.

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What's Next?

  1. Nothing. Just let it ride and see how it goes ;)

  2. Take some more LIVE or Recorded classes. This class pairs well with Anxious Kids = Anxious Parents and School Refusal: Parents.

  3. Need more help than just a class? Try the Monthly Club or Individual Therapy.

  4. Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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Continued Support

Do you want to connect with other people who may have similar struggles?  Wanting some extra resources between classes?  Join the Everyone Struggles closed Facebook Group.  This is the common place I encourage people to "hang out" between classes to get peer support and extra resources from me.  Hope to see you in the Everyone Struggles group soon ;) 


We believe social and emotional wellness can happen in many different ways.  We offer a variety of services for children, teens, and adults to help improve self-awareness and better manage social and emotional struggles.

We've designed our services to build off each other.  So what you learn in the classes will help you in the Monthly Club and the Monthly Club will put you that much further ahead in Individual Therapy.   You don't necessarily have to go in that order.  Just know, whatever level you begin, we'll help you build a good foundation of Cognitive Behavioral skills and cheer you on until you are rockin' it ;)

Let's stay connected

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We would love to connect with you on social!  It's a great place to say hey and us to share some awesome resources.  Make sure you like, follow, and subscribe to @midwestanxiety on Instagram, Twitter, Spotify, Facebook, and YouTube. 

Limits and Restrictions:

The materials distributed are provided with the understanding that the author and presenters are not engaged in rendering professional services. This is a psychoeducational class and information in the presentations or group discussions by the presenters, facilitators, or participants should not be considered to be medical, psychological, legal, financial, or spiritual counsel. The presentations and written materials are not intended to provide medical, psychological, legal, financial, or spiritual services or counseling. If expert assistance or counseling is needed, the services of a competent professional should be sought. Any opinions, finding, recommendations or conclusions expressed by the author(s) or speaker(s) do not necessarily reflect the views of Midwest Anxiety, LLC.