Do Parents’ Mindsets Shape Their Children’s Academic Experience and Homework-Related Conflict?

Normally, my posts focus on leadership, management, and self-development. This week, I have a very interesting study on mindsets to share with you that deals with leadership, management, and self-development in another realm: parenting. As a parent with two small kids, this definitely hit home. I think you’ll find this interesting.

Before we get into this, let me ask you a couple of questions:

  • Do you think that your mindsets affect your children’s academic achievement?

  • Do you think that your mindsets affect the degree to which you butt heads with your children about doing homework?

If you answered “yes,” we have some empirical proof to back you up.

Benjamin Matthes and Heidrun Stoeger recently published a study in Contemporary Educational Psychology, where they investigated the role that parents’ fixed/growth had on their children’s academic experience.

If you recall, when we have a fixed mindset, we see ourselves and others (including our children) as being unable to change our talents, abilities, and intelligence. But, when we have a growth mindset, we see ourselves and others as being able to change our talents, abilities, and intelligence. Prior research has found that those with more of a growth mindset are more willing to develop those that they lead because they see them as people that can change and improve. This is similar to what Matthes and Stoeger found.

Let me present their results in a figure and then I will walk you through them.

In the figure below, you will see some number with asterisks next to them. The numbers are correlations, and the asterisks indicate that the correlations are “significantly significant.” This means that they are significantly greater than zero, or in other words, that the relationships are meaningful and unlikely to be found by chance.

Parent Study.png

To explain the results, I am going to follow the letters that go along with the correlations. Here is what they found:

A. The more parents have a growth mindset, the higher the child’s academic achievement. The B’s, C’s, and E’s help explain reasons for why that might be.

B.1. The more parents have a growth mindset, the more likely their child is to have a growth mindset.

B.2. The more a child has a growth mindset, the higher the child’s academic achievement.

C.1. The more parents have a growth mindset, the less likely the parent is going to engage in controlling behavior (defined as….

C.2. The more a parent engages in controlling behavior, the lower the child’s academic achievement.

D. The more parents engage in controlling behavior, the more homework related conflict

E.1. The more parents have a growth mindset, the less likely the parent and child are to have homework-related conflict

E.2. The more the parent and child have homework-related conflict, the lower the child’s academic achievement.

Moral of the story… If you as a parent want:

  • Your children to develop a growth mindset

  • To engage in more effective parenting

  • To experience less homework-related conflict

  • Your children to have higher academic achievement

…then, it is critical that you develop a growth mindset if you don’t already have one.

Also, this suggests that if your child has a fixed mindset and if you have a lot of homework-related conflict, it is likely that you have a fixed mindset.

But, if you want to be sure, you can take my free personal mindset assessment:

 If you would like to learn tips on how to develop more of a growth mindset, check out this blog post: Unlocking Greater Success by Developing a Growth Mindset.

You can also check out this website that provides 25 Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset.

Cool stuff, huh?!?!