Presentation on theme: "Raising Resilient and Optimistic Children"— Presentation transcript:
1 Raising Resilient and Optimistic Children Abby Medcalf, PhDNew Bridge FoundationBerkeley, CAPrivate Practice
2 Overview Background Optimism vs. Pessimism Raising Optimistic Kids Growth vs. Fixed MindsetPractical Tips and Tools
3 Evolution of Feeling Negative Natural selection likely favored growth of negative emotions as life saving innovationFight to the death = extreme negative emotionsThose ancestors who felt negative emotions strongest likely fought and fled the best, and passed on relevant genes
4 Evolution of Feeling Positive Positive emotions have grand purpose in evolutionThey broaden intellectual, physical, & social resources, building up reserves for when a threat or opportunity presents itselfWhen in positive mood, people like us better and friendship, love, & coalitions cementMental set is expansive, tolerant and creative; open to new ideas and experience
5 Heritable or Changeable High heritability does NOT equal unchangeableTraits like height and weight don’t change muchPessimism and fearfulness are very changeable
6 Pessimists are….8X more likely to become depressed when bad events happenDo worse at school and sportsHave less demanding jobs than their talents warrantHave worse physical health and shorter livesHave rockier interpersonal relationsLose American Presidential elections to their more optimistic opponents.
7 When we’re unhappy, we…. Become distrustful Turn inward Focus defensively on our own needsLooking out for number one is more characteristic of sadness than of well-being
8 Optimists Have better health and live longer Happy people are half as likely to die or become disabled as unhappy folksBetter health habits, lower blood pressure, feistier immune systemsMore productive with higher incomeEndure pain better and take more health and safety precautionsDisplay more empathy and willing to donate more time and moneyMake approx. 4X more money
9 When kids are happy they are…. Less self-focused, like others more, and want to share good thingsLess likely to use drugs or alcohol abusively and wait longer before even trying drugs and alcoholLess likely to have unprotected sex and wait longer to engage in sexual activity beyond “petting”More altruistic, overall
10 Martin Seligman, Explanatory Styles and the “Three P’s” Mechanics of OptimismMartin Seligman, Explanatory Styles and the “Three P’s”
11 Explanatory StylesWe are constantly talking to ourselves; this is our internal dialogueWe are always interpreting events; both positive and negativeSeligman identified 3 primary elements of explanatory style: The Three P’s
12 Permanence Permanent versus Temporary People who believe good events have permanent causes are more Optimistic than people who believe they have temporary causesOptimists explain good events to themselves in terms of permanent causes: traits, abilities, alwaysPessimists name transient causes: moods, efforts, sometimes
13 Permanence I’m always lucky It’s my lucky day I’m talented I try hard I ask my kid to do things when he’s absorbed in a video gameIt’s my lucky dayI try hardMy kid never listens
14 Pervasiveness Specific vs. Universal Do we think the results of this one event apply to everything in our lives, or just that episode?I get toothpaste on my shirt in the morning. Is my whole day ruined, or do I just change my shirt?
15 Pervasiveness Do you catastrophize and generalize? All trainings suck versus this training sucksHomework is a waste of time versus this particular assignment, in this particular class, is not helpful
16 Hope Whether or not we have hope depends the first 2 P’s Finding temporary and specific causes for misfortune is the art of hopeFinding permanent and universal causes for bad stuff is the practice of despair
17 Hope“I’m stupid” versus “I’m a normal parent who missed some signs in my daughter”“Men are bad” versus “My husband was in a bad mood today”This is your most important score
18 PersonalizationPeople who believe they cause good things tend to like themselves better than people who believe good things come from other people or circumstancesLocus of control: am I responsible for an event or was something outside of my control responsible?
19 PersonalizationPeople who blame external events do not lose self-esteem when bad things happenOn the whole, they like themselves better than people who blame themselves“I have no talent at poker” versus “I have no luck at poker”“I’m insecure” versus “I grew up with parents who were neglectful and abusive and this impacts how I act”
20 RealismOptimism is not always a good thing: I like a pessimistic pilotPessimists are not more realistic than optimists
21 California Education1986: The State Task Force to Promote Self- Esteem and Personal and Social ResponsibilityAcademic failure, substance abuse, crime, poverty, violence, teen pregnancy, etc. all due to low self-esteem1990:“Toward a State of Self-Esteem”No more red pencilsRibbons for everyone
22 Dr. Roy BaumeisterReviewed 15,000 scholarly articles written on self-esteem from ; found that only 200 had scientifically sound way to measure self esteem and outcomesConcluded that high self-esteem didn’t improve grades or career achievement, reduce alcohol/drug use, reduce sexual activity or violence among youth
23 The Optimistic ChildSelf-esteem is a feeling state (embarrassment, satisfaction, contentment), but these feelings are rooted in the success of our commerce with the worldWhat a child does (mastery, persistence, overcoming frustration and boredom, meeting challenges) is at the core of self-esteem
24 Self-esteem is not shifted with affirmations, it’s changed with mastery
25 Self-EsteemFeelings of self-esteem and happiness develop as side effects of mastering challenges, working successfully, overcoming frustration and boredom and winningThe feeling of self-esteem is a by- product of doing well.
26 So, it’s not encouraging children to feel good, but teaching children the skills of doing well
27 DepressionUntil the 1960s depression was a fairly unusual condition, typically reported in middle-aged womenCurrently, this is considered the “common cold” of mental illness with depression being diagnosed in junior high school or earlier.People born after the “feeling-good” era and self-esteem movement are suffering depression at about 10X the rate of people born in the first third of the century
28 But, Why?Change from an “achieving” to a “feel- good” society: Happiness and high self-esteem are the new goals instead of achieving
29 Michael Jordan Cut from his high school varsity team. He wasn’t recruited by the college he wanted (North Carolina State).He wasn’t drafted by the first two NBA teams that could have chosen him.When he was cut in high school his mother told him to go back and discipline himself.
30 And that is why I succeed.” “I’ve missed more than shots in my career.I’ve lost over 300 games.26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed.I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life…
31 Answer this….Your intelligence is something very basic about you that you can’t change very much.You can learn new things, but you can’t really change how intelligent you are.No matter how much intelligence you have, you can always change it quite a bit.You can always substantially change how intelligent you are.Is your answer the same if you substitute “artistic talent” or “sports ability” for “intelligence”?
32 “Drawing with the Right Side of Your Brain,” Betty Edwards
34 It’s in the GenesNeuroscientist, Gilbert Gottlieb: not only do genes and environment cooperate as we develop, but genes require input from the environment to work properly.Intelligence guru, Robert Sternberg: the major factor in whether people achieve expertise “is not some fixed prior ability, but purposeful engagement.”Each person has a unique genetic endowment as we start with different temperaments and aptitudes, but experience, training, personal effort take them the rest of the way.
35 Malcolm Gladwell“People prize natural endowment over earned ability. Deep down, we revere the naturals.”
38 Fixed Mindset Your abilities are carved in stone. Will I succeed or fail? Will I look smart or dumb? Will I be accepted or rejected? Will I feel like a winner or a loser?Risk and effort might show your inadequacies.Effort is bad. It, like failure, means you’re not smart or talented. If you were, you wouldn’t need effort (geniuses don’t have to try hard).Always want to succeed (and on the first try).
39 Fixed Mindset Setbacks are traumatic. This mindset gives you no way to overcome failure.Students with fixed mindset have higher rates of depression because they ruminate over their problems and setbacks and believe they are incompetent or unworthy.Students with fixed mindset told Dweck that their main goal in school – aside from looking smart – was to exert as little effort as possible.
41 Growth MindsetThe hand your dealt is just a starting point for development.Effort is good. It’s what makes you smart or talented.Everyone can change and grow through application and experience.Passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it; even (especially) when it’s not going well.
42 Growth Mindset Success is about stretching. Don’t just seek challenges, they thrive on them.Failure still a painful experience, but it doesn’t define. It’s a problem to be faced, dealt with and learned from.Success is in doing you best, in learning and improving.Setbacks are motivating, informative, a wake-up call.
43 Dweck’s ResearchStudied effects of praise on students at 20 NYC schools over 10 years.Kid takes puzzle IQ test (simple) and told kid score and gave one line of praise.Some praised for their intelligence (‘You must be smart at this”).Some praised for their effort (“You must have worked really hard”).Why one line? “We wanted to see how sensitive children were.”
44 Next, students given choice of test Choice #1: more difficult test than first, but students told they’d learn a lot from attempting the puzzles.Choice #2: easy test, like the first one.
45 Guess what happened?Of those praised for their effort, 90% chose the harder set of puzzlesOf those praised for their intelligence, 71% chose the easy testThe “smart” kids took the cop out
46 But, Why?“When we praise children for their intelligence, we tell them that this is the name of the game: look smart, don’t risk making mistakes, and avoid the risk of embarrassment.”
47 Next round, test is 2 yrs ahead of their grade level Everyone failed.BUT, those praised for effort on first test assumed they simply hadn’t focused hard enough on this test; they got very involved and tried multiple solutions.Those praised as smart, assumed their failure was evidence that they weren’t really smart at all. They were miserable.
48 It gets worse…After the artificially induced “failure,” students given test as easy as first onePraised for effort students significantly improved on 1st score (about 30%)Praised for intelligence students did worse than they had at the beginning (about 20%)
49 Dweck Concludes“Emphasizing effort gives a child a variable they can control…they come to see themselves as in control of their success…Emphasizing natural intelligence takes it out of their control, and provides no good recipe for responding to failure.”
50 Yes, your kid tooRepeating experiments found this effect of praise on performance held true for students of every socioeconomic class, boys, girls, ethnicity, and every age group, (even pre-schoolers).
51 Wrong Praise Can Lead to… Frequently-praised children get more competitive and more interested in tearing others down.They often become entitled and feel they shouldn’t have to work for things.Develop a fixed mindset.Are often more pessimistic.
52 Mindset at School“The growth mindset and this way of thinking is critical because it reframes mistakes and failure as a natural part of the change and growth process. Students need to perceive falling down as learning, not failing. Teachers and coaches need to model this consistently.”
54 Growth Mindset Tips Focus on the process, not the kid Focus on effort, not outcomeWhen giving negative feedback use the word “yet” so it gives kids a time perspectiveGive positive feedback or rewards for mistakes and thinking outside the box
55 Brainology Get the Monthly newsletter: https://www.mindsetworks.com/ signup/mailing-list.aspxGain new ideas and tips on how to cultivate a growth mindset environment,Access educators' and parent's stories on how they implemented growth mindset practice and what the impact has been,Keep up-to-date with growth mindset research.
56 Coach John WoodenDid I win? Did I lose? Those are the wrong questions. The correct question is: Did I make my best effort? If so, you may be outscored, but you will never lose.”