HSC Parents and the Brain – fostering a growth mindset

In this ongoing series of blog posts for HSC Parents, we are looking at the many different ways that you...

In this ongoing series of blog posts for HSC Parents, we are looking at the many different ways that you can support your child in the lead up to their final HSC exams. This can range from implementing physical strategies to increase physical well-being to implementing emotional and social strategies to allow for opportunities for success.


This post is the first blog post to discuss the emotional and mental side of things, with the past three blog posts discussing tactics of improving your child’s physical well-being.


Fostering a growth mind-set:

The brain is always growing and developing – that’s a fact! A growth mind-set means to encourage your child that with effort and practice they can develop their skills and abilities in whatever area they want. A fixed mind-set, on the other hand, will let them down – this is when they believe that intelligence and talent is fixed, and that some people are ‘just born with it’. Success has more to do with fluid intelligence, tenacity and belief, and our attitude towards success is refined by our experiences and our learning opportunities.


Kids (and teens, of course) therefore need to believe that their success is reliant on their effortand attitude. This growth mind-setis often influenced by parents from a very young age. We have a few tips to make you think about your language when discussing your child’s success and they ways that you can encourage a growth mind-set during the HSC year.


  1. Praise effort, strategy and action

Focus your praise on the processes of what your child didto be successful, rather than the results themselves.

“You worked hard to get that result!”– effort

“That was a smart idea to tackle the hardest task while you were fresh!” – strategy

“You recognised that first few steps were the most important but then after that you were right!” – action


  1. Give honest feedback

We often shy away from giving feedback for fear of harming our child’s self-esteem. Giving constructive feedback is an important aspect in encouraging improvement and promoting a growth mind-set. Focusing on two or three things your child is doing well before giving constructive feedback is the best way to help out.

“I love how you develop this idea here! What made you think of that? What do you think you could improve on? Perhaps you could focus more on the second idea next time…”

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