In my last post I discussed the powerful impact that having a Growth Mindset can have on motivation and academic achievement. With a Growth Mindset you believe that through effort and the use of solid strategies you can become smarter and better at just about anything you put your mind to. And in fact, there’s a great deal of neuroscience research supporting the notion that we can in fact “grow our brains” and become smarter!
Unfortunately kids with ADHD may be more likely to have a Fixed Mindset. Their struggles with motivation and academics may have lead them down the path of believing that their hard work doesn’t really pay off, and there is nothing they can do to become smarter or better at the things that are challenging for them. And with this set of beliefs, mustering up the motivation to work hard at school or tackle challenging homework problems is extremely difficult. Fortunately, research has shown that mindsets can be changed – and that includes your child with ADHD. Parents and teachers can foster Growth Mindsets in their children and have a big impact on their motivation and achievement.
So, how do you go about encouraging a Growth Mindset? It takes two phases. First, teach your child a few core Growth Mindset principles. Then on a daily basis, emphasize Growth Mindset thoughts and actions to cement the new Growth Mindset lessons and encourage increased motivation over time.
So let’s start with Phase I: teaching three core Growth Mindset principles.
In addition to teaching your child these key Growth Mindset principles, get started on figuring out ways to help your child learn new strategies for the things that are hard for him or her. Talk to your child’s teacher about subjects that are difficult. Find out which learning tools are currently working for your child and which tools are not. Kids with ADHD may need different learning strategies, so ask about alternate tools and strategies that they can try. Consider getting extra help for your child through their school or through a learning center or tutoring program (see my previous post on choosing a good tutoring center for your child). Remember that your child’s hard work will only lead to improvement when he or she is putting their effort into using the tools and strategies that work for him or her.
My next post, the last in this Growth Mindset series, I’ll talk about Phase II -- the things you can do every day to encourage a Growth Mindset in your child. You’re well on your way to instilling a Growth Mindset, and soon you’ll start to think about all of the ways that your child – and you – can rethink challenges and have a Growth Mindset approach to life.
Mary Rooney, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco. Dr Rooney researcher and clinician specializing in the evaluation and treatment of ADHD and co-occurring behavioral, anxiety, and mood disorders. A strong advocate for those with attention and behavior problems, Dr. Rooney is committed to developing and providing comprehensive, cutting edge treatments tailored to meet the unique needs of each child and adolescent. Dr. Rooney's clinical interventions and research avenues emphasize working closely with parents and teachers to create supportive, structured home and school environments that enable children and adolescents to reach their full potential. In addition, Dr. Rooney serves as a consultant and ADHD expert to Huntington Learning Centers.
Huntington Learning Center is the tutoring and test prep leader. Its certified tutors provide individualized instruction in reading, phonics, writing, study skills, elementary and middle school math, Algebra through Calculus, Chemistry, and other sciences. It preps for the SAT and ACT, as well as state and standardized exams. Huntington programs develop the skills, confidence, and motivation to help students of all levels succeed and meet the needs of Common Core State Standards. Founded in 1977, Huntington’s mission is to give every student the best education possible. Call us today at 1.800.CAN LEARN to discuss how Huntington can help your child. For franchise opportunities please visit www.huntingtonfranchise.com.
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