A Lesser Known Truth about Your Child’s Ability to Succeed

The enormity of your responsibility engulfs you like a crashing ten foot wave as you gaze at the perfect bitty head swaddled in the blanket looking like a hot dog in a bun. God, you plead, how do I keep him safe from heart-ache and pain? If only I could put him in a padded, double-walled protective bubble… then nothing would get at him.

(Or bubble-wrap could work. Right?)

The weight of parenting crushes us all. I too, have sent many prayers heavenward on behalf of my three sons.

One answer that returns often like a feather floating to the earth is, “Teach him.”

The first time that thought came I looked upward, What? Really? That’s all? Come on, there has to be moreA nice padded bubble would work much better. 

“Teach him.”

Sigh. Okay, okay, I understand. But I really liked my idea better.

Mindsets anyone?

There is a newer science called the psychology of success originally researched by Carol Dweck. It’s fascinating. She discovered children fall into one of two mindsets when facing a challenge: either a growth or fixed mindset.

After reading the research, I knew which mindset my children needed.

No doubt about it.

The Difference

Children who have a fixed mindset believe their intelligence and talents are fixed. They assume what they have is what they get and there is nothing they can do about it. They are either smart or not smart, musical or not musical. If they feel it is not their talent, they give up when the subject or problem becomes a challenge.

On the other hand, children with a growth mindset believe they can develop any ability as long as they put in the effort. Really, the sky is the limit. They lean into challenges and keep trying.

Fascinating, huh?

I definitely didn’t want my sons growing up with a fixed mindset. But how could I help them embrace a growth mindset? That’s when the idea popped into my mind, just like Genie popping out of Aladdin’s lamp.


Your Mission

Should you choose to accept?

Yes, I accept it, now what on earth is it?

Your mission is…

Give parenting pep-talks.

There is a popular saying by Peggy O’Mara, “You become your child’s inner voice.” My goal was to make sure my pep-talks became my children’s inner voice.

Here are 7 of my best parenting pep-talks:

1-Stand up for yourself in a respectful way

Speak up for yourself. Don’t let others take advantage of you. Ask questions. Speak respectfully so others will listen. Being “nice” does not mean giving in to others. Say what you need. Do it respectfully. Your voice matters.

2-Life is hard and that’s okay

Life is difficult and challenging and that’s okay. Lean into the challenges, square up and face them. You are made to do hard things. School, relationships (family or friends), and life can be hard.

Hard does not = bad. Hard means you have the opportunity to grow, learn, and improve. You are made to do hard things.

3-Life is not fair

The sooner you accept life is not fair, the happier you will be. Stop chasing fairness and rid yourself of the disappointment it brings. Stop complaining and wishing things were different.

Instead stand up and make things happen. Life may not be fair, but opportunities to learn, have relationships, and be grateful for your life are limitless. Life is as good as you make it.

4-Own your mistakes and learn from them

You will make mistakes, they are part of life. At times they might be painful, that is okay. Own your mistakes, make amends, apologize when you hurt someone.

Learn from your mistakes, they are powerful teachers. Mistakes are not failures, they are gifts to learn from.

5-You have people in your corner

There are people in your corner: God, family, friends, and teachers. They will cheer for you, they will help you if you need advice. They will teach you. They will lift you. They have your back… remember that when times get tough. Many people have your back. You are not alone.

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6-Be curious – learn all you can

Learning is wonderful, it is exciting, and it is exhilarating. There is so much to learn. Knowledge helps you with the challenges you face. Make learning a life-long pursuit. Knowledge is power. Be curious… learn something new every day.

7-You make your own happiness

No one is responsible for your happiness except you. Do not be a victim. Do not be a person who expects others to step in and make you happy.

Others will help you through life but they are not in charge of your happiness…you are. Get up and make your happiness.

Bonus (#8) You are capable

When you feel you are not capable remember you are. Push though difficult tasks.  Break them down into smaller more manageable pieces. Figure out your different options. Ask for help. Always remember you are capable. You really are.

Of course after giving them a pep-talk, I follow it with a great big mama bear hug. Sadly, there is no more cradling.

Let’s Do This

The bubble idea has burst.

Yes, life knocks them down. School. Projects. Friends. Sickness. But they can handle it (most of the time.) Instead of staying down, they stand back up. Brush themselves off. Square their shoulders, and move forward with a growth mindset.

In the wise words of Dr. Seuss, “Can you succeed? Yes, you can indeed.”

Question: What pep-talks have you given your children to bolster them up? 

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About The Author

Damara Simmons

I am a wife, mother, author, speaker, and family life educator. I love learning and inspiring parents. Join me as we journey together!