YOUR MINDSET about how people learn can profoundly influence how happy your kids are. There are two basic mindsets.

  • People with fixed-mindsets believe that their talents personalities are inborn, carved in stone.
  • People with growth-mindsets believe that that success is a result of effort as much as or more than aptitude.

Model the growth-mindset yourself; for example, at dinner or bedtime tell about a time when you didn’t know the answer to a question.

  • Who did you ask for help?
  • How did you learn the answer?

At breakfast, ask questions about their opportunities for learning and growth in the coming day.

  • What questions do they need answers to?
  • What do they want to learn or get better at?

Make sure to ask kids about topics other than academics or sports — children are also learning important social skills at school.

  • How are they are practicing being a better friend, and what challenges are they facing?

Talk to your kids about their heroes and role models.

  • How did they become successful? Point out the hours of practice and effort that go into success.

Link to original PDF:

Christine Carter, Ph.D., is a mother of two and the executive director of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. Find more tips for raising happy kids at

Subscribe to Half Full: Science for Raising Happy Kids by Email