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      7 Strategies for Fostering a Growth Mindset in Your Child   When we think of preparing kids for back-to-school, we often think of buying them flashy pens or trendy clothes to boost their confidence in the new year. While fresh sneakers and school supplies can make your kid feel sharp when school starts, material items can’t prepare their brains for engaged, motivated learning. To get the most out of their academic experience, children need to enter the school year with the right attitude towards learning. But positive outlooks aren’t exactly sold in the back-to-school aisle, so what can parents do to get their kids in the right mindset?       What type of mindset does my child have?   Most people have one of two attitudes about learning. Some people think that your level of intelligence is something that you are born with and can’t change, like eye color. This attitude is called a “fixed mindset.” People with fixed mindsets don’t believe they can improve their abilities – they believe everyone is either smart, average, or dumb and there’s nothing that can change that. Other people have what’s called a “growth mindset”; they view the brain as a muscle that is capable of growing, developing, and strengthening through challenges and effort.   Why is a growth mindset important ?  Kids with a growth mindset see challenges as opportunities to develop their intelligence. Their positive outlook on learning helps them view school as an exciting and motivational environment. For kids with fixed mindsets, however, school can be a terrifying place. Since they don’t see their potential to grow and improve, they often avoid studying or asking questions in fear of looking dumb. Whether a child has a fixed mindset or a growth mindset can have a significant impact on their emotional well-being throughout their academic career.    Click here to watch Free Webinar on Growth Mindset     Can parents support a growth mindset in kids?    As adults, we tend to view each new calendar year as an opportunity to achieve certain goals and experiences. For children and teens, the academic year represents their fresh start - a time that can be both exciting and intimidating. The new year can be especially scary when they are transitioning to a new school with unknown teachers or peers. While it’s normal for children to work through anxieties and obstacles in school, there are ways that parents can help them gain excitement for learning and believe in their ability to strengthen their intelligence:   To foster a growth mindset in your child, start by asking yourself the following questions:    1. How does my mindset measure up?   When you do something well, what do you attribute your success to? Intelligence? Luck? Talent? Or do you tend to attribute your success to someone else altogether? What about when you struggle with a task? Consider your attitudes toward your own learning capabilities; if you aren’t giving yourself enough credit for your brain’s ability to adapt and grow, you’re probably not sending a “growth mindset” message to your children. When you find yourself thinking with a “fixed mindset,” challenge your thoughts and model persistence through challenges.   2. Does my child understand that brains grow?   Teach your child that their brain is like a trainable muscle rather than a fixed attribute. Remind them that like the muscles in their arms that grow with physical activity, their brain also strengthens with effort and practice. Let them know that advancing to the next grade level means their brain will have new opportunities for “growth spurts.” This lesson can be especially powerful for children with learning or attention disorders who need reassurance that their abilities can improve with time and effort.   3. Am I praising appropriately?   While praising your child for being smart or talented can increase their self-esteem, this type of praise can actually backfire by supporting a fixed mindset. When you praise them for easily mastering tasks, it can give the message that it’s more desirable for them to do things they are automatically “good at,” rather than working hard to improve in challenging areas. As a result, many kids who are praised for talent and intelligence try to avoid tasks that require more risk and strategic thinking. Acknowledge your child’s talents, but also make sure to also praise their efforts and strategies to show them that you place value on more than just performance.   4. Does my child have "resiliency role models"?   Share stories with your child about underdogs who weren’t necessarily “naturals” in their field but were able to reach their goals through hard work and persistence. It can be famous individuals like Walt Disney who went bankrupt before building his empire, or people in your life like a family member who overcame obstacles to get where they are. These “resiliency role models” can inspire your child to have faith in their potential when they are feeling discouraged.    Click here to check out our blog on fostering your child’s persistence     5. Am I applying a growth mindset beyond academics?   Let’s face it, academics aren’t the only things learned about in school. Friendship, conflict resolution, and young romance are all topics that may fill your child or teen’s school day. Remind them that their brain will grow and adapt in every area of life; if they are having trouble making friends the first few weeks, view it as an opportunity for them to learn new ways to build relationships. If they said something totally embarrassing to their first crush, remind them that their brain has plenty of room to grow in the romance department as well!    For more tips on helping your child develop their emotional intelligence, click here     6. Am I teaching affirming language?   When your child feels frustrated and on the verge of yelling a 4-letter word, empower them with one of the most powerful 3-letter words in the English language – yet. Adding a simple “yet” to an exclamation of, “I can’t do this!” opens up a world of possibility. Teaching your child affirming language will help them adopt a resilient attitude. Turn, “this is too hard,” into, “this may take some time and effort.” Turn, “Plan A didn’t work,” into, “Good thing the alphabet has 25 more letters!” Affirming language will let your child know that they are able to master the challenge at hand, as long as they put in the time and effort to do so.   7. Should I talk to a specialist?   Anxieties revolving around the new school year can make it difficult for children and teens to focus on their learning; a higher grade level, new teachers and peers, puberty, or starting in a new building can discourage a child from focusing on their intellectual growth. It’s important that parents learn ways to support their child’s emotional health and growth mindset as they enter each school year.   Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D ., is an expert in child and educational psychology. She provides educational consulting to evaluate each child’s emotional and behavioral development and assess if there are other factors such as learning or attention differences that may impact their academic experience. Dr. Shinn works with parents and children to overcome obstacles and help children strive for their academic potential and emotional well-being.      
	  Click here to schedule your appointment with Dr. Shinn 
      
 
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   Hochanadel, Aaron; Finamore, Dora. (2015)  Fixed and Growth Mindset in Education and How Grit Helps Students Persist in the Face of Adversity.  Journal of International Education Research; Littleton Vol. 11, Iss. 1,  (2015): n/a.  Susana Claro, David Paunesku, Carol S. Dweck (2016).  Growth Mindset tempers effects of poverty on achievement  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Aug 2016, 113 (31) 8664-8668; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1608207113     https://garyhorvath.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/USOC-MINDSETS-by-Carol-Dweck-2.09.pdf  https://www.mindsetkit.org/growth-mindset-parents/learn-about-growth-mindset/what-is-growth-mindset-parents  https://www.understood.org/en/friends-feelings/empowering-your-child/building-on-strengths/growth-mindset  https://www.mindsetworks.com/websitemedia/youcangrowyourintelligence.pdf  https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=dr.+carol+dweck+ted+talk&view=detail&mid=0DB8542E849CFDBA73880DB8542E849CFDBA7388&FORM=VIRE   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2018). 7 Strategies for Fostering a Growth Mindset in Your Child.   Psychologically Speaking .   [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/7-strategies-for-fostering-a-growth-mindset-in-your-child

7 Strategies for Fostering a Growth Mindset in Your Child

Do you think intelligence is something you are born with and is unchanging, like eye color? Or do you think your brain is more like a muscle, that can grow and strengthen with training? Research suggests that the latter is true, and what your child believes can have a major impact on their emotional well-being throughout their academic career. Check out this week’s blog on 7 strategies to foster a growth mindset in your child.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


            Stealth Depression in Men: Unmasking its 6 Disguises    Depression: It’s not always what you think   When we hear the word “depression,” we often think of crying, sadness, and feelings of low self-esteem. What many people don’t realize is that depression often hides behind behaviors that we generally don’t associate with unhappiness. This can be particularly true in men, who may have been taught from a young age to mask feelings of sadness with other behaviors that society considers more masculine. Without identifying their symptoms as depression, many men go untreated, which over time can have devastating consequences on his mental health, physical well-being, and relationships.    What qualifies as depression?   Depression is not merely defined by sadness – rather, sadness is a symptom of depression. Depression is caused by an underlying belief of not being good enough in some way, which can be applied to a number of areas in a person’s life. Symptoms impact a person’s thoughts, behaviors, and feelings, and are a result of believing that the core of who they are is in some way deficient. Some core beliefs include feeling unlovable, worthless, defective, powerless, hopeless, or incompetent. These underlying beliefs provide fuel to the fire for symptoms of depression. In many cases, these beliefs take the form a constant inner voice that perceives situations in a negative, self-deprecating way.   Mis(ter)understood   There are several effective treatments for depression, but all too often, depression in men goes under the radar. Many men experiencing depression don’t show the stereotypical red flags; instead of expressing despair or showing vulnerability, their behaviors may appear destructive or indifferent. Loved ones may view their actions as malicious or cruel, not knowing the underlying pain that is causing them. Learning ways that depression disguises itself in men can help men and their loved ones understand their symptoms and discover ways to take action and overcome them.    The 6 stealthy disguises of depression in men:    1. The Mask of Anger   Society tends to view anger as a much more acceptable display of emotion in men than expressions of sadness. Because of this, some men manage their depression (which they still might not be aware of) by projecting their negative feelings onto the outside world. If you find yourself feeling irritable often or arguing frequently, anger may be a working as a mask to disguise depression.    2. The Ruse of Risk-Taking   While a little risk-taking can add a healthy dose of thrill to anyone’s life, excessive reckless behavior can be a sign of depression. If you find yourself eager to start fights, driving drunk, having unsafe sex, or gambling in excess, these behaviors may be a subconscious effort to give yourself temporary relief from underlying pain.   3. The Slump of Sex Drive     It’s common for people struggling with depression to find decreased enjoyment in activities they once found pleasurable, including fun in the bedroom. It’s normal for a man’s libido to change throughout his life, but if you’ve noticed a significant decrease in sexual desire, less enjoyment from sex, or are having symptoms of erectile dysfunction, it’s possible that depression is rearing its head in your love life.    4. The Camouflage of Pain   Depression can also manifest itself in physical pain. Frequent body aches, stomach and gastrointestinal pains, chronic fatigue, or increased pain sensitivity can be signs of depression. These symptoms can also worsen depression as pains may discourage men from engaging in fun, physical activities that could elevate their mood.    5. The Cover-up of Drinking up   Unaware of healthier ways to cope, many men turn to drugs or alcohol to drown their negative feelings. While many guys can enjoy the occasional drink to “take the edge off,” every time a man drinks to numb his feelings, he is robbing himself of being able to resolve them. Substances allow him to temporarily forget his troubles, but once the high wears off, he is back at square one and often more depressed than before. Using substances to cover up depression is a common recipe toward addiction.   6. The Cloak of Isolation   When a man is depressed, it’s common for him to isolate himself from others. This could include staying at work late or spending lots of time on video games or their cellphone. It can appear to loved ones that he is not interested in spending time with them; in reality, these behaviors are a response to underlying feelings of inadequacy that decrease his motivation and interest in enjoying the company of others.    How can a man battle depression?   If you’re a man experiencing any of depression’s stealthy disguises,    Dr. Christopher Sample, Specialist in Men’s Issues  , recommends these tips:   Confront your “stinking thinking”   Whichever “mask” you are experiencing, there are some negative thought patterns directing your mind toward anger, risk-taking, etc. Becoming aware of these thoughts as they arise is an important starting point. When negative ideas come to mind, consider if your thoughts may be stemming from a negative belief about yourself.    Take your thoughts to court   Men with depression have often trained their brains to hone in on the negative perspective, but remember that negative thoughts are not facts. Acknowledge your negative thoughts and come up with evidence against them. Try thinking of healthier, more positive ways to interpret events and situations in your life. Over time, your healthier perspective will lay the foundation for being able to overcome depression and love yourself.   Ditch the devil on your shoulder   Remember the cartoons where the main character had a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other? Much like the devil and the angel, or the Id and the superego, we cannot eliminate the devil, only choose not to listen to him/her.  Picture your negative thoughts as the “shoulder” you aren’t going to listen to. Work on empowering a more positive voice by focusing on the evidence you’ve build up against your negative thoughts.    Example:    Negative thought:  “My wife didn’t cook dinner because she hates me.  Healthier thought:  “Maybe she didn’t make me dinner because she worked all day and didn’t get much sleep last night.”    Hit the gym   The mind and body are connected, and it’s hard to keep one in optimal health without strengthening the other. One way to aid depression is to treat your body through diet and exercise. Your increased endorphins will combat your fatigue and body aches, giving you energy to pursue other fulfilling activities. It can be hard to prioritize the gym when you have work and other obligations. Eating a high protein diet and hitting the gym after work two to three times a week can be a good start in naturally boosting your mood.    Keep fun on your calendar   Getting caught up in life’s responsibilities can make a man lose sight of the enjoyable side of life. Make sure to set time aside every week for a fun or relaxing activity that you enjoy. Dr. Christopher Sample suggests asking yourself, “If I was the happiest I’ve ever been, what would I do for fun right now?  What activity would keep me feeling great?” Allow yourself to engage in these activities on a regular basis. Put the phone down and look up; set specific time that is focused on enjoyment, leisure, and relaxation.   Fake it ‘til you make it   When you are battling depression, you sometimes have to take action first and let the positive feelings come later. You may not feel like going out to eat with your coworkers or waking up early on Sunday for a pick-up soccer game, but show up anyway. Socializing and connecting with loved ones will strengthen your relationships and provide evidence against any negative beliefs that fuel the fire of your depression. Often, these connections can act as a reminder you that you are valued, cared for, and good enough.   Talk to a Specialist   Many men experience depression in a variety forms, but it can be a hard topic to understand or discuss. In a few sessions, a specialist in men’s issues can help you identify what you are going through and guide you through steps to overcoming your challenges.       
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism, Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams). See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a   call   and we will guide you.  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References   Trivedi, Madhukar (2004) The Link Between Depression and Physical Symptoms, The Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Vol 6., pp. 12-16   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2018). Stealth Depression in Men: Unmasking its 6 Disguises.  Psychologically Speaking .   [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/stealth-depression-in-men-unmasking-its-6-disguises

Depression: It’s not always what you think


When we hear the word “depression,” we often think of crying, sadness, and feelings of low self-esteem. What many people don’t realize is that depression often hides behind behaviors that we generally don’t associate with unhappiness. This can be particularly true in men, who may have been taught from a young age to mask feelings of sadness with other behaviors that society considers more masculine. Without identifying their symptoms as depression, many men go untreated, which over time can have devastating consequences on his mental health, physical well-being, and relationships.