Exploring the Growth Mindset for Children and Youth: Working Definitions and Important Connections to Resiliency

According to psychologist Carol Dweck, our mindset plays a critical role in how we cope with life’s challenges. Using a fixed mindset, we might hear comments from children and youth such as, “I’m not good at this,” “I give up,” or “I can’t make this better.” However, using a growth mindset, we might hear, “I’m not good at this yet,” “I’ll use other strategies,” or “How can I improve this?” As child and youth care workers, it’s vital that we understand the concept of mindset as well as the “power of not yet,” especially as we strive to collaboratively build resilience, and support our children and families’ efforts to persevere in the face of setbacks.
Learning Objectives: 
  • Identify the differences between a growth versus a fixed mindset
  • Reflect on the benefits of having a growth mindset
  • Learn how to build resiliency as a protective factor to support a growth mindset
CYC Certification Competency Domain:
Developmental Practice Methods  
1 Class Hour
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Created by

Rose Ann Renteria

Dr. Rose Ann M. Renteria, has worked as a program evaluator, researcher, consultant, trainer and speaker to non-profit organizations and educational institutions for over 20 years. She serves as a Youth Thrive expert panelist on behalf of the Center for the Study of Social Policy; directs research and evaluation for PHILLIPS Programs focusing on family strengthening programs, special education and youth development evaluations; and has served as faculty at Mills College and the University of Colorado at Boulder in family and youth studies, Latina studies, public policy, research methods, sociology and women’s studies. She has helped direct research initiatives to test wraparound program development, and has created outcome frameworks for parents and families to help them build their own protective and promotive factors. She lives in Virginia and volunteers with faith-based youth groups, Boys and Girl Scouts, and school-age child care systems.