5 Things to Say When your Child Gets Stuck

Going from a fixed to a growth mindset is not something easy to do, especially with little guidance. Despite this learning curve, it is important both parents and children adopt this mindset so that they are set to conquer any obstacle they may face, whether it be academic or not. Installing a growth mindset will set them up for success. Here are a couple of words you can say to your children when they are stuck and need help getting back on their feet.

“It’s okay to feel discouraged and it is okay if you feel that you’re not progressing as fast as you want to.”

The first step is to validate their emotions. When they recognize and understand their feelings, they would be more likely to assess the root cause to why they are stuck. Hearing that their feelings make sense from someone else would help to make them feel less alone. They may appreciate a pillar of support as they navigate their feelings and emotions.

“Let’s make a list of all the possibilities you’ve tried so far. By writing it down, it’ll help to see what you have done so far and we can brainstorm together to find new methods.”

By listing what has worked out in a visual list, your child can see all the work they have put in so far. They have seen their effort at trial and error. It also lets them to remember everything they have tried so far, so that they could think of something completely new and not have to run into overlap with past ideas

“You’ve worked so hard! I’ve noticed you waking up early to review your notes, and asking for help when you need it. Your persistence has brought you this far already, and I know you can go farther.”

At times, children need reassurance that their hard work does not go unnoticed. Until they have completely adopted a growth mindset, it is crucial that parents help them get there. Instead of praising results, praising their effort will be more rewarding. It shows them that regardless of whether they produce stellar results or not, they can be satisfied with the fact that they have tried their absolute best.

“You overcame ‘x’ & ‘y’ in this way. What did you do differently that worked last time, that did not work this time? Let’s revise our strategies.”

Now that they have written down their past attempts and strategies, it is time to compare. They can take parts of successful methods and merge them together with others to create a new plan. It allows them to examine their work. 

“You can definitely do what you put your mind to. At this moment, you have not done this task yet, but in the future, you will have done it.”

One of the most important words to reinforce is “yet”. Children should learn that they can accomplish their goals in due time. In a world of instant gratification such as next day delivery and fifteen second TikToks, it is hard for children to feel good about themselves when they do not see instant progress. Reinforcing the word “yet” shows them that they will reach their goals with time, and it does not mean they will never achieve their goals if their results are not instant.