RWM: Mindset (+7 ways to nurture a gifted child/13 points of irrational thinking)


 “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7)

Talk about a potpourri post: Get ready. Get set. Read on!

My newest read: Mindset by Carol S. Dweck.

Trust me, I am not getting through all these books that I start! The beginning of the school year has taken me by storm. Rocked my world. Thrown me off balance. But I am not defeated! I am pressing forward. And when I have a chance to glean something really good from a good book, I’m adding it to my stack of books to read this year.

So much to learn! So little time!

Actually, there is enough time. Just not enough time to read all the books I want, but enough time to read a part of the books I want to read. And then there’s eternity, when we’ll get to see beyond the limits of we can’t see here and now and begin to understand how all of the pieces fit together.

Not that I want to wait until eternity to begin to see how they fit. But won’t it be nice to really get to see how they fit? Not just all of the blind man’s views of the elephant?

Back to the topic at hand: MindsetI’m excited to read this because it appears to be right up my interest alley, and because our principal had all of the school teachers read it, and I’d like to see what’s driving them this year. Last year I listened to FISH! (that he recommended and the teachers read) and appreciated the insights I got from that read (=listen). I think my biggest take-away from that book was that if you’re having fun in what you do, if you are bringing energy to your task at hand, others will enjoy begin around you and that enthusiasm is catching.

Well that’s not news, but it’s great to be reminded of it!

So I’ll share what I find when I crack it open and dig in a little.

One thing I can share today are “7 ways to nurture your gifted child.” These points came from a Psychology Today blog post by Signe Whitson, LSW and were passed on to me by one of my children’s teachers at Back-to-School night. (Three weeks later, I’m finally reading this page. Ha!)

Based on the idea of trying to nurture a “growth mindset” (from Dweck’s book Mindset), Whitson suggests that gifted children can become easily frustrated by not being able to achieve success rapidly or “perfection” as they perceive it. She explains that a “fixed mindset” suggests “that if they are not the best, don’t score a perfect 100%, or can’t find a solution easily and immediately, then they must be stupid, bad, and worthless. All-or-nothing thinking, as it turns out, is a hallmark of some of the greatest young thinkers out there. It can also be a deal-breaker to their otherwise unlimited potential.”

That “all-or-nothing” mindset isn’t a new concept either, right? I learned about it from another Stanford author, David D. Burns, MD, who wrote Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy (The Clincially Proven Drug-free Treament for Depression). Burns first published his book in 1980. He explains that “you feel the way you think” (Table of Contents). Burns writes, “Our research reveals the unexpected: Depression is not an emotional disorder at all! The sudden change in the way you feel is of no more causal relevance than a runny nose is when you hav a cold. Every bad feeling you have is the result of your distorted negative thinking. Illogical pessimistic attitudes play the central role in the development and continuation of all your symptoms.”

He continues: “Intense negative thinking always accompanies a depressive episode, or any painful emotion for that matter. Your moody thoughts are likely to be entirely different from those you have when you are not upset” (p.29).

So Burns explains that we can learn to identify the kinds of irrational “mind-sets” (p.88) we have that cause us to feel bad and underachieve. He believes these mindsets lead most often to procrastination and do-nothingism. Here’s his list (pp.88-94):

  1. Hopelessness. (I can’t cheer myself up.)
  2. Helplessness. (I can’t do anything to change my situation. The problem is out of my control.)
  3. Overwhelming Yourself. (My problem is too big to tackle. I have too much to do.)
  4. Jumping to Conclusions. (I can’t because… I would but…)
  5. Self-labeling. (You see yourself as incapable: lazy, a procrastinator, etc.)
  6. Undervaluing the Rewards. (This is not worth it. This is a waste of time.)
  7. Perfectionism. (I will never be able to do it right. I can’t do it well enough.)
  8. Fear of Failure. (I won’t be able to do it. I’m going to fail!)
  9. Fear of Success. (What if I can’t keep up?)
  10. Fear of Disapproval or Criticism. (If I try, s/he isn’t going to like what I do.)
  11. Coercion and Resentment. (I have to do this.)
  12. Low Frustration Tolerance. (I should have gotten this by now!)
  13. Guilt and Self-blame. (It’s all my fault.)

WHEW! I can categorize lots of thoughts that I have regularly under each of these categories! Hooray! I’m normal. But what a great list to help me recognize what is illogical and irrational so that I can readjust my thinking to a better mindset!

And that’s what this list of 7 ways to nurture helps a parent to do when dealing with a child who is stuck in a fixed, or irrational, mindset:

  1. Play up personal strengths.
  2. Play down competitions.
  3. Provide opportunities to try out new things.
  4. Encourage practice.
  5. Celebrate mistakes. (I love her story about researching Babe Ruth with her daughter!)
  6. Idealize improvement.
  7. Praise hard work and effort.

GREAT LIST! (I recommend her post.) Now those suggestions are going to help us stay on the right track when it comes to nurturing a child. As you know, I believe every child is gifted in some way, whether we are able to recognize or measure their giftedness. So each of these 7 ways is a great nurturing idea.

I recommend the article. Some great suggestions here!

Happy Nurturing,

Liz 🙂


2 thoughts on “RWM: Mindset (+7 ways to nurture a gifted child/13 points of irrational thinking)”

  • I swear I’ll do something to make time for you to read a book. What can I do?
    Clean kitchen? Vacuum bedroom? Tidy basement? Massage your feet?

    • I’ll sign up for a foot massage any day! It’s ok that I’m not reading piles of books yet. I’m doing what matters even more right now. Some day I’ll have more time for reading, but then I’ll be missing you guys! So I’ll read snatches and love it.

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