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Moms Need A Parenting Growth Mindset
Friend, I am convinced that all moms need a parenting growth mindset. For the sake of our kids, we need to shift our mindset.
Think about it.
How many of us have grown because of our children?
Many of us enter parenthood believing we are going to be the perfect parent.
“I will never let my child co-sleep. That is not a healthy sleeping habit.”
“I will definitely co-sleep. Attachment parenting is the only way to go.”
“When I have kids, my child will never talk back to me.”
“What is wrong with these parents? I will never allow that behavior with my kid.”
Are you laughing at the arrogance or the fact that you once believed something like this?
Here is the deal though. Whether you believed one of the above statements or something else, every mom grows through parenting.
We change as we learn. Parenting is a process. Many of us get to the point where we finally realize that there is a heck of a lot we do not know.
Parenting Growth Mindset For Moms
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Moms Need a Parenting Growth Mindset
What is a growth mindset?
Growth mindset as a term was coined by Carol Dweck, PhD. Basically Dweck explains a growth mindset as one that sees:
- challenges as opportunities,
- obstacles to be overcome,
- criticism as learning lessons,
- and ultimately the general sense that we are not “stuck” in any one position forever…
She focuses her efforts on equipping children with an understanding that they can succeed and that they are only limited by their beliefs.
While Dr. Dweck’s work has been primarily geared towards the educational system, all people are impacted greatly based upon their mindset.
She points to the great difference in life outcomes for those who have a fixed (I can change nothing mindset) or a growth mindset.
Clearly, we can see how our beliefs about ourselves and those around us, can radically impact the quality of our lives.
Raising ADHD or Autism? Parenting Growth Mindset
Friend, it’s essential to the well-being of our neurodiverse children that moms embrace a parenting growth mindset.
Are you parenting a child with ADHD? Does your child have Autism?
SPD? APD? GAD? Any acronym?
Or does your child simply struggle to fit in the box of the world’s expectations?
Do you wake in the middle of the night worried about your child’s future?
“What is going to happen to him?”
“Will she always struggle?”
Friend, I’ve been there. And I have come to the conclusion that if we want our kids to avoid a bleak future, we mommas may want to rally together to make a change.
Parenting Growth Mindset vs Parenting Fixed Mindset
Fortunately, we moms tend to get to the point where we settle in to the fact that we are not God. As we embrace the reality that we are not in control of everything nor everyone, we have some choices to make.
A fixed parenting mindset tells us to dig our heels in the sand when our kids don’t fall in line. When those little people living under our roof dare to be different, we do everything we can to force those kids to get in line.
“Nope. He will learn to obey right away because that is what my parents expected of me.”
From experience I know where that leads. This often leads us to broken relationship and a whole lot of stress.
The growth parenting mindset allows us to sway with the winds of unmet expectations. It frees us to see our struggles with our kids as not personal failures, but as opportunities to grow.
My own journey to a parenting growth mindset
My hubby and I adopted a baby boy 6 years ago. His transition into our family was relatively smooth.
That is, until he hit 18 months. It was then that his uncontrollable behaviors began to destroy our home and our family.
- He screamed ALL.DAY.LONG. for about 3 years straight.
- He did not sleep for more than two hours at a time for almost a year and a half… (to this day he struggles to sleep)
- He hit, kicked, scratched, bit, and
- Did I mention shrieked at the top of his lungs every single moment that he was awake?
This was the lowest and most desperate season of my life and in parenting.
The isolation and shame.
I felt overwhelming guilt for my two biological daughters who had lost their mom. They found themselves living in a war zone within their home.
Humiliation and depression suffocated me for several years. My husband and my girls suffered greatly every day.
The internal dialogue in my own momma head did not help one bit. I truly believed that life was over.
Except it wasn’t.
Friend, God used this season of absolute HELL to radically change the way I see everything and everyone.
As we sought help for my boy, I learned from incredible pediatric specialists. Ultimately, we found some answers for my son.
And I found answers I didn’t know I was searching for.
You see, I was forced to acknowledge my need for outside help.
I entered Christian counseling and faced my own internal junk.
God used the agony to chip away at some boulders that had been holding me hostage for years.
Let me cut to the chase.
I had been stuck in black and white thinking that labeled a child’s outward obedience as the ultimate sign of a good Christian momma.
For decades I had been believing that something was true without ever having examined it.
By God’s mercy, He used another baby boy to offer more freedom to me and my family.
In this journey, I have learned so much about His design of the brain and His heart for the broken.
He looks at the heart and sees in each of us who He designed us to be… even when we mess up. In His grace, God allowed me the opportunity to develop a parenting growth mindset. And I am so grateful.
Parenting growth mindset saved my kids
Developing a parenting growth mindset has been key to the progress we have made with our precious boy. Even more, it transformed my relationship with my biological daughters.
Honestly, I believe it has saved their lives.
When we adopted our boy, we had no idea that our daughters needed their mom to develop a parenting growth mindset. For one of my girls in particular this soon became apparent.
For years, I tried to make her into a social butterfly like her older sister.
I didn’t understand why she was so “shy.”
I worried about her heightened-sensitivity level.
Why did she hang on the outskirts when we would get together with friends for play dates?
I tried to “fix” her so that she could be “happy and healthy.”
Fixed parenting mindset is the thief of mental health
When she did not do what I wanted when I wanted it, I would become frustrated with her.
And she felt it… she soaked up my disappointment.
She felt the judgment of others because she wasn’t an outgoing conversationalist.
It kills me to think about what she felt about herself while I was trying to get her to “act” a certain way.
“Kids should be outgoing and social.”
“Children need to come out of their shells sooner rather than later.”
It is not the being different that could have posed the greatest risk to her well-being. Nope, it was the messages she received from the world around her.
Sadly, she got the idea loud and clear even from her mother (me).
My girl was learning that she needed to be someone else in order to make others happy. That in order to be “good,” she would have to pretend to be a girl who God never intended for her to be.
It is this message that could have destroyed her life.
I fight the tears right now as I think about what she would have felt and believed about herself if I had continued parenting her with a fixed mindset.
Embracing a parenting growth mindset has allowed me to see the beauty that God has intentionally woven into my precious girl. She is His girl.
He looks at the heart.
By being willing to examine our beliefs about how we approach our outside-the-box kids, we open the door to hope.
Adopting a parenting growth mindset that seeks to find the strengths in each of our children offers an alternative to:
‘What’s wrong with me?’
‘I always screw up.’
‘The teacher is mad at me again.’
‘My mom is always disappointed in me. Why can’t I get it together?’
‘The noise was just too much and I couldn’t handle it. I’m so stupid.’
‘I cannot focus in a room full of other kids.’
‘What is wrong with me?’
How many more kids have to scream for help through drug-abuse, cutting, suicide, eating disorders, before we take a good look at this one-size-fits all system that is FAILING so many children?
Moms willing to examine unhealthy expectations
Friend, moms need to feel safe within community in order to best serve our kids. So many of us have kids who don’t fit in the box of the world’s expectations. What is crazy is that so many of these expectations are never even questioned.
And yet we can easily spend our fleeting time of influence trying to force our kids to conform to unexamined and unhealthy expectations.
The end result? Broken relationship between parent and child and, ultimately, hurting adult children.
Parenting growth mindset frees us and our kids
When we develop a parenting growth mindset, we become moms living in freedom. The parenting peanut-gallery commentators lose their power. We feel confident to care less for what the “experts” say if it is going to destroy our children.
These years matter. What our kids believe about themselves matters so let’s examine the beliefs that are influencing how we raise them.
Let’s do this differently in community, Friend. If you have a child who dares to be different, join us in A Heart For All Students private community.
We would love to support you as you raise the child God has given you to thrive with confidence and purpose.
Life will get tough
A parenting growth mindset is not some Pollyanna dream world.
That is why we need mom support from other ladies who share a parenting growth mindset. We were made by God for relationship. We will need others to support us with the growth mindset vision that we can’t see in those hard and weary moments.
And when we are willing to receive support from others as we parent our outside-the-box kids, we are then able to equip our children to thrive.