The Benefits of Developing a Flexible Mindset for Parents
I want you to ask yourself – how do you react when things suddenly change and you have to adapt to a new way of life?
Do you get angry, blame the world for your problems and cling to your old ways no matter what? Or do you assess the situation, accept that the old ways are no longer possible, and start brainstorming how to adapt and enjoy your new life?
If your reaction is more like the second question, it means you have a Flexible (Growth) Mindset. And if your reaction is more similar to the first question, you have a Rigid Mindset.
The theory of mindsets was coined by a psychologist named Carol S. Dweck. In her theory, she refers to the mindsets as Growth vs. Fixed. But even though she uses a different name for the mindsets, the theory behind them is the same.
What is a Rigid Mindset?
First, let’s talk about what defines a Rigid Mindset.
A Rigid Mindset is a person’s belief that their intelligence and their abilities are fixed and can’t be changed. And this mindset can absolutely permeate to other parts of life as well. Someone with a Rigid Mindset has a difficult time adapting to change and is often plagued by the victim mentality. They will usually blame others for their faults or adopt a belief that they just simply can’t amount to anything, and there is no point in trying. You believe that you’re either have the abilities or you don’t. And it can lead to a lot of dissatisfaction in life.
What is a Flexible Mindset?
A Flexible Mindset is the opposite of a Rigid Mindset.
Someone with a Flexible Mindset believes that their abilities and intelligence can be changed with time and effort. A person with a Flexible Mindset does not blame others for their failures, but takes constructive feedback, and makes appropriate changes. They adapt their behavior with situational changes, and don’t play victim when things don’t go their way. They know that their abilities are not set in stone, and that they have a direct impact on outcomes.
Why does a Flexible Mindset lead to more success than a Rigid One?
Now that you know the difference between a Flexible and Rigid Mindset, let’s talk about why it’s important to develop a Flexible Mindset.
One of the biggest benefits to a Flexible Mindset is the ability to adapt to change. When you live your life believing that everything can be worked through and improved, then you are more likely to put in the required effort. You are also less likely to fear failure. To someone with a Rigid Mindset, failure is tragic. But to someone with a Flexible Mindset, failure is merely a stepping stone to success. A lesson in what not to do. And that leads to setting and achieving ambitious goals. And who doesn’t want to excel in whatever they set their mind to?
If you have a Flexible Mindset, you’re also less likely to espouse a victim mentality, and believe that you are helpless in this scary ever changing world. And that is so important, especially now. We are faced with a lot of change, and a great need to sacrifice.
Those of us with a Rigid Mindset have a much harder time handling the current situation. We are more likely to be angry, anxious, grieving the loss of our old life, blaming everyone for what is happening right now. But those of us with a Flexible Mindset are more likely to go with the flow, adjust to the new rules, and to thrive under them. We wouldn’t let a silly mask stop us from enjoying time with friends and family. And we will find productivity and creativity with all the alone time we have on our hands. We will come up with new activities for our families that are fun, engaging, creative, out of the norm. Just because life is different, it doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.
How a Flexible Mindset Can Help Mothers (and Fathers) Thrive
While I talked about how having a Flexible Mindset can help us thrive in the pandemic times, I also want to explain how having a Flexible Mindset can help parents in general.
Becoming first time parents is a huge life shift. It turns your world upside down and rearranges your priorities. While this turmoil can be absolutely welcomed by some parents, other parents don’t cope with it quite as well.
There are many fathers that believe that they’re missing the parenting gene and can’t really bond with the baby, so they drop all the responsibility on the mother. Who in turn ends up drowning under the pressure and starts resenting the whole motherhood thing. Or there are mothers who are tricked by their postpartum mood disorders into thinking that they’re missing the mothering gene, and will never be good mothers. Either one of those scenarios leave the parents feeling disconnected, resentful, confused, and frankly, like failures.
A lot of us are tricked by society to adopt a Rigid Mindset when it comes to parenting. We are either good parents or bad. There is nothing in between and no room is left for learning, growing, or improving. We should have rigid roles based on our gender. And we should always do things a particular way because it’s how it’s always been done.
All of this leads us to cling to old parenting methods that don’t work, making parenting decisions that don’t feel right to us, and leaves us feeling resentful of our situation.
But if we are able to reject this Rigid Mindset, we can see that parenting is just like anything else in life – it’s a skill that can be learned and improved upon. Parenting is a living breathing work of art. One that looks different for every family and every child. So, adopting a Flexible Mindset in parenting allows us (the parents) to evolve, grow, and become better, and more in tune with our children. And that leads to better family outcomes and a more empathetic way to parent.
What Can You Do To Develop a Flexible Mindset?
If you are reading this and realizing that you have a Rigid Mindset, don’t despair. Nothing is set in stone. You can always work towards adopting a Flexible Mindset. It’s also important to teach your children how to adopt this mindset, as well. It will serve them well in life.
Here are the steps that you can take to adopt a Flexible Mindset for your life.
- Start with your self-awareness. Get curious and learn about yourself. What are your strengths and talents? How about your weaknesses? What do you enjoy and not enjoy doing? Write all of this down. Ask for some feedback from your friends and family, as well. They may be able to uncover something that you are overlooking.
- Believe in yourself, your talents, your strengths, your ability to learn and grow.
- Change your view on failure. Failure is nothing to be afraid of. In fact, failure is the way to learn and grow. Learn from it. Harness the power of your mistakes and grow.
- Commit to lifelong learning. You are never too old to learn and change. Anyone can do it, at any point in their life. You just need to get curious and be open to new information. No one knows everything.
- Draw inspiration from others. It’s easy to be envious of others’ success, but being envious will not help you grow or succeed. Instead, be genuinely happy for those people, and learn from their success.
- Accept challenges as a part of life. Anything worth fighting for will not come easy. Challenges will arise and you need to learn to overcome them. And sometimes, be prepared to fail.
- Be persistent. It takes a lot of hard work and perseverance to succeed. Sometime only through grit and multiple attempts, will you come out victorious.
- Follow your passion. Find what you are passionate about and work on it. Or cultivate passion for what you’re already doing. In either case, passion helps greatly in being able to succeed.
Just remember, it’s never too late to change your mindset. We, humans, are capable of learning and growing at any stage in our lives. Being flexible allows us to enjoy our life so much more. Who knows, you may even uncover some hidden talents with your new Flexible Mindset.