Labeling Your Kids to Shape Their Identity

Parents Growth Mindset Challenge Week #2!
How did it go last week? Did you practice using the Growth Mindset Phrase?
It takes practice but WOW! What a difference you will see in your kids.
Try to actively use this weeks phrase. This Growth Mindset statement is doing 2 things.
Firstly, it is positively reinforcing great behavior, which in this case is asking for your opinion. Kids, and all of us, want to do good things. We all want positive attention and be praised for good behavior. Asking for other peoples opinion is a great skill to have. It demonstrates leadership, helps others feel valued, and can build incredible teams who can do incredible things as a strong unit. Humble people ask for others opinions; Insecure individuals and those with inflated egos do not.
Secondly, this phrase is labeling them as a "Considerate Person". We are helping to ground their identity into a positive personality trait. By pointing out that they are in fact a considerate person based on the action they just displayed, it is not an empty comment. They will feel like the compliment has been validated in their minds and, therefore, must be true. When humans can tie their identity to a trait, they act in accordance to it naturally without effort. New connections are made in their minds to display this behavior and every time they act in accordance with it, it reinforces it further. It becomes who they area.
But be careful, it works both ways. If you label your child negatively, the same thing will happen. We never mean to do it, but it does happen. Perhaps they are playing with another child and take the other child's toy away. You want to immediately correct this behavior but stay something like, "Don't do that. You aren't not a good sharer." That statement is just as effective as the positive label. They will believe you and find opportunities to prove that phrase is correct.
Or perhaps you ask them to clean their room for the 10th time and finally say, "You are a terrible listener!" or "You are so messy!"
We never intentionally mean to hurt their identity, but it happens. Everything worth doing takes conscious practice until it becomes an unconscious, positive habit.
Try this weeks Growth Mindset Parent Challenge. Intentionally use it. Find opportunities to use positive labels with your child and watch them develop almost overnight.
Stay tuned for next week!

How to Instill a Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is one that enjoys a challenge, doesn't give up and believes that they can learn and accomplish anything with the right effort, focus and practice.
As a parent, you have a significant amount of influence on whether they will develop a strong growth mindset. No Pressure, right?!
We want to help. Using the right language is one of the biggest, if not the most effective, method for instilling a growth mindset in a child. When done consistently, the results can be almost over night! Watching them grow and take on challenges is one of the most fulfilling things I can watch my child do.
So how do you do it? What are those magic words?
Like a any new skill, it takes focus, effort and practice. So here's what we want to do. We are going to provide 1 new Growth Mindset phrase each week for you to mindfully use with your children at every chance you get.
Practice and be present when the opportunity strikes to use one of these Growth Mindset Statements. Soon, it will become natural.
To see our Weekly Parent Growth Mindset Statements, Follow Us on Facebook or Instagram

Prepare Them for Anything!

Resiliency takes practice. So does Critical Thinking, Communication, Decision Making, Empathy and Adaptability.
We can hope that they learn it in school or by accident, which they often do to a degree, but to continue their development we must provide real world opportunities for them to exercise these skills & learn from their results. Then, practice it again in a new way with new results.
Build a Biz Kids uses Entrepreneurship as a medium to practice Real Life Skills in Real World Interactions. But of course throwing students into a situation without preparation wouldn't set them up to succeed.
Students attend 10 weeks of programming designed to prepare them for these real world interactions. Step by Step, they role play scenarios, plan and make BIG decisions, gain confidence through leadership and develop empathy for their customers who they will meet very soon.
As adults, we are cut off in traffic on a regular basis. Sometimes by accident, sometimes by overconfident people who believe their schedule is more important than ours.  How do you react?
For me, sometimes I'm glad not to have my son in the car with me, lol. It really get's to me. Other times I really impress myself by how little I react and that I empathize with the driver that they must have someplace important to go; or how sad for them that this is how they feel in control by making power moves that are dangerous and disrespectful. Aren't I the bigger person today?
Which was the better response? To be honest, it doesn't matter. No one was around to know about either of my possible reactions, unless they are in the car with me. The other driver doesn't know. My parents don't know. My favorite teacher who would be so disappointed in one of the responses, also doesn't know.
What matters is whether I did either one on purpose. Did I stop and reflect on how one reaction made me feel over the other? Did I question if one was more right or appropriate than the other? Did I even ask WHY I reacted differently from one occasion to the other in an objective manor?
Here is why these ACTIVE thoughts and reflections matter.
Just in this one situation, I had an opportunity to practice self control, empathy, leadership, self awareness, body language, conflict resolution, personal branding, adaptability, self confidence, resiliency, and possibly depending on the situation, time management and planning. All of the skills that I listed are known as soft skills. There are actually 87 of these skills, each one important in their own way. I prefer to call them Practical or Essential Skills myself. According to top employers in virtually every sector, that's exactly what they are; even superseding technical skills in many cases.
That is an entirely separate write up so let's jump back to the road rage (or not) situation. Everyday we are presented with opportunities to develop skills but instead of being "active" in our approach to practice and be aware, we work on autopilot and fall into habits that are already ingrained and getting deeper by the second.
The statement, "This is just the way I am" has always been one that has made me cringe. It couldn't be further from the truth. In actual fact, that statement is more accurately read, "This is the way I choose to continue to be".
The reaction in the car could be a reaction you are happy that you made. It made you feel good and therefore you just continue on your way. Or perhaps you didn't like your reaction and the rest of the car ride you feel embarrassed or scold yourself for not having control or more self worth. Again, both reactions are not helpful.
During either moment where you feel either reaction, the only thing that can ensure progress and growth, is to be self aware, reflect and contemplate what reaction you would like to have. What reaction would help you or someone else the most? What reaction do you envy when others display? And, most of all, what reaction would you like to train yourself to have going forward. What would you like to have as your new Autopilot?
Our reactions are very similar to addictions in that they are cycles that need to be broken and it takes an active, conscious approach to do it. Most of our habits have been developing for years and have deep pathways in our brains that must be filled with something new. However, the only way to do this is with the desire to grow, to acknowledge when opportunities arise to practice, and then to take action in those moments sooner and sooner in the "heat" of the moment.
I want to leave you with one take away example around our kids that I see often. Sports could easily be looked at as a place where our kids can learn resiliency. They missed the ball, missed the goal or they lost the game but tomorrow still came. Yes, they COULD learn resiliency, but are you and the coaches working actively to develop this SKILL in them?
It was the game right before championships. Both teams were great! It was back and forth and I have never seen a crowd so big at a baseball game for 9 & 10 year olds. The final inning and it is close. My son missed a key catch that could have easily knocked one of their out. No prob, we still have another batter up and either we get the 3rd out or they get a run in. That's it. It's as close as it gets.
Well, the other team won. There was a LOT of drama around a pitch with the Umps and I will save you the chaos but that was it. Our team lost.
WELL, I have NEVER seen such absolutely meltdowns of LOUD sobbing and yelling and tempers and tears in all of my life. These kids were squealing through tears saying words no one could make out. 90% of the losing team just lost it! It took me aback. The coaches did their best to say that everyone did an amazing job. That it's ok that we lost because they won so many and there will be another chance next year and so on. But it didn't work. In fact, there was a brother of one teammate who lost who was melting down as well and yelling how my son had lost us the game for missing that catch.
So, how many of the players were developing resiliency that day? To be honest, I have no idea. What I do know, is that each of them were too young and too emotional in the moment to understand that it was an opportunity for them to reflect and grow. All they could think about was the loss. That is where coaches and parents must come in to lead them through that.
Some parents consoled and said they did great, that it's ok to lose and that they are proud. Kind words, and I'm sure it helped a little to help them with perspective in some way, but it hasn't help them to be active in their thinking. Instead, these words are your attempt to implant positive thoughts in their mind but that's not how new habits are formed.
Other parents were disgusted in the behavior and told their kid to "Stop it! That's enough of that", which most likely came from a place of fear that their child would always act this way to a loss, or the parents were just embarrassed to have one of their own kids meting down.
So what could be helpful? What could start them on the trek to developing positive habits around loss?
Asking insightful, non leading questions. Questions where their answers have no right or wrong answer. The objective is getting them to Think Through their emotions and options with the desire to create a positive outcome.
In the first parent reaction, the parent is trying to implant positive thinking into the child's mind; to think for them about the situation and try to make the child see it their way. The problem is that the next time they lose something it might not be a baseball game where the same thinking applies and their parent might not be there to tell them how to feel again.
Instead, ask them how they are feeling?
Why do they feel that way?
How would they feel if they won and how would the other team feel?
Did they do their best? Was there anything they wished they had done more?
What actions could they take now that would give them a better chance next time?
Lastly, emotions are tough sometimes; especially in moments where we feel defeat and major loss. So keep this in mind when asking these questions. They may still give answers that are considered "not appropriate" or immature. That's ok. This is practice. This is simply helping to equip them with questions they can ask themselves later that night once they are calm and have time to reflect.
**On that note, give them time to reflect. no iPads, no TV. those are escapes. Give them time to reflect and process. that is where the magic happens.
Happy Practicing!!

Guest Bloggers, Partnerships & More!

In the last year, Build a Biz Kids has gained incredible support and met some incredible people who are all in alignment with our values and mission for BBK. We truly believe that we can all run faster, father and do more when we put our heads together and all bring our greatest strengths to the table.

Some of our partners are so incredible that we have asked the to participate directly with us, and you, by contributing regular guest blogs and insights into their worlds. These guest bloggers range from incredible societies who are doing Positive, GREAT things all over the world, such as Desiree from Ruben's Shoes, to employers from top brands and companies who are growing quickly but need applicants to have Business Ready, Practical Skills in order to be able to hit the ground running, such as YESA.

We hope that their insight and unique perspectives will bring additional value to you as a parent, as a member of this great world, and as someone who wants to increase their own knowledge and have it rub off on everyone you encounter.

Stay Tuned! Our guest blogs are coming soon!


Resiliency is a Skill. Here's How to Develop Theirs

Have you ever known that guy, maybe in college where they had no fear asking someone out on a date, hearing "No" and then moving onto the next person? Or how about that gal you used to work with in Sales. She could literally go door to door and hear "No" 100 times a day and keep showing up the next day. We may think they are crazy, but why is that a trait we feel uncomfortable around sometimes?

By far and large, the average person does not enjoy being told "No". Why is that? I mean, statistically we are more likely to hear "No" in our lifetime than we are to hear "Yes". Otherwise we would all be millionaires travelling the world with no worries, no debts, no problems. But yet we are completely devastated when "it" happens. Rejection

As you can probably guess, there are a few reasons why.

One reason is that it means you can't have something that you want. A toy, permission to go somewhere, ice cream, a sleepover. Even though these "things" are not pivotal, it can still hurt feeling this rejection. But what about when we get older? What about when we finally work up the nerve to ask for something that could change our lives?

Maybe a raise? Or your dream job? A first date? Approval on a Mortgage? "No" can feel like a threat to our dreams and futures.

Another reason we tend to dislike rejection is that it could mean you might not be good enough to get that "thing" according to the person telling you "NO".

  • No ice cream for you, you don't deserve it today
  • No promotion for you, we don't think you are ready for it
  • No, we have decided to "go another way" with the role in this movie
  • No, your income isn't high enough to buy that house
  • No, I will not go on a date with you, because I am not attracted to you

Now, perhaps these are or are not the actual reasons for the rejection. Maybe they he wont go on a date with you because he has a crush on someone else. Maybe they decided to place a man in the role instead of a woman. Maybe you already had ice cream that day and it would be unhealthy to have more. But either way, our perception is our reality and with rejection, often our minds betray us, our insecurities come out and we "fill in the blanks" as to why we were rejected "again".

These rejections can really hurt and, like everything, it truly is perspective. If we are taught that the boy at the dance didn't dance with you because they don't like you then we start to attach our worth to other peoples opinions and reactions; whether the reasons we make up are true or not. Perhaps they really don't want to dance with you? What does that mean? What can it mean? And why do your answers to both of those questions have to be negative ones?

This is dangerous for so many reasons for youth. I'm sure you have seen all kinds of scary stories attached to a persons worth based on a lack of resiliency and proper perspective. Scary stories such as developing anorexia, experiencing bullying, self harm and so much more. (just a quick disclaimer, those scary stories can be due to many reasons associated with mental health, but a lack of proper tools and coping mechanisms early on in life can be a strong factor as well)

But let's say they make it through youth and into adulthood. How does a lack of resiliency and perspective manifest in an adult?

Road rage, abuse, suicide. Yes, that escalated quickly and are very real effects.

But what about this? What if they do not manifest in these serious ways? What if instead, they simply fear asking for what they want and settle for complacency? What if they fear rejection so much that they decide that it isn't worth asking for a raise? Or applying for their dream job or auditioning for a headliner role? Maybe they just stick with what is safe and feel unfulfilled for the rest of their life, never really seeing their full potential....

No one wants that for their child, when they are any age. But how can you build resiliency without causing harm? Won't that be a risk for their young, fragile egos? What if they get hurt?

They can, yes. Absolutely. But much like building a house is tough without the right tools and knowledge, so is building resiliency. The reality is that they absolutely WILL hear "NO" in their life (or even every day) from you, their friends, their coaches and teachers, so we better prepare them now.

Placing your child in a dangerous or hurtful situation unprepared would be harmful. So let's talk about how you can safely prepare them and have them actually feeling good about it. Yes, that's right, good.

  1. Talk to them about what is important.
    It seems like every "How to Parent" list starts with communication but truly, kids are sponges and they look to you for guidance. So, it goes without saying, if you can't talk to them, how will they be able to learn? If you see a great Teaching Moment, take it. Stop everything and talk about it. Maybe a little girl yelled at them and called them names at school today. Ask, "Why do you think she might have done that?" and then explore possible reasons.
    Maybe the child was sad from something that happened at home and decided to take it out on them. Maybe the child wanted attention or was jealous of something you had? Maybe you did something that made her angry? Can you think of something she may have taken the wrong way?
    Explore as many ideas as you can. Help them to gain introspection of their own actions while building empathy for others. It also teaches them that, unless you know, you don't really know and it is best not to assume or take it personally.
  2. Talk about Failure as a Fun Thing! 
    Yes, failure can be fun. Don't believe me? Ask any kid who has jumped a ramp on their bike and taken a dive but got up to do it again. Failure can be exciting! It means something NEW is being explored and possibilities are opening up.
    Dave Asprey from BulletProof Radio asks his daughters every night, what is something you failed at today and what is something you are proud of that you achieved? The goal behind this is to get them to link that failure one day can be an achievement the next. It also takes ALL stigma out of failure and turns it into a thing to be proud of. Anything that any incredible person has ever done, started with a failure attempt or two, or three, or 1000 times! But if you are having fun while doing it, who cares!?
  3. Set Them Up for Failure as Information 
    In our KidPreneur Programs with Build a Biz Kids, we purposely set them up for failure early, but they don't even know it's happening. In business, every product starts as a prototype. There isn't a company out there who would spend millions of dollars on their first attempt of a product until they tested the market with it first.
    Our students are told to make more than 1 version of their prototypes and then ask as many people in the general public, what they think. If faced with the question, do you like the Red Widget or Blue Widget better, you ultimately have to "dislike" one of them more. But in this context, students are taking this rejection as critical information to improve their products. Improving their products will increase their sales and grow their businesses. In that context, rejection is GREAT!
    Set them up for "failure" in controlled settings where the context is given BEFORE the experiment.
  4. Develop Your Own Introspection
    Yup, sorry parents, but if you want your child to learn a new language, it's easiest if they can speak it at home as well. Babies are not born with a rule book on how to react or feel. That's why if you get angry when in traffic, they will assume that is how they should feel when they are stuck in traffic as they get older.
    That's not to say that we want you to turn off old habits, on a dime, that you have had for years, but noticing them when they happen, especially in front of your kids, and then talking about it would go a HUGE way for them, and you.
    The next time you feel fear to ask someone for something you want, talk about it with them. It might just give you the encouragement to do it.
    The next time you get angry, tell them you're sorry and let them know why you reacted that way and explore other reactions and outcomes. ie, getting mad at traffic doesn't get you there faster, the other people in front of you want to get somewhere as well, and so on.

Resiliency is a skill. It can be easy to look at others who seem to have it all and "always get what they want", but chances are, that person has heard "NO" 100x more than you. If Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, then EVERYONE will need to experience rejection to get what they want.

Help your kids learn this skill and then practice it weekly, daily even, to build that muscle and help them to lead a fulfilling, accomplished life.


Never Tell Your Child They Are Smart

That's right! No catch. No bait and switch. Truly, never tell your child they are smart.

I, like many parents, have an innate fear that I will screw up my child in some way. One day, I will say that one thing that completely screws them up. I will be having a bad day, my patience will be low and BAM. It will fly out of my mouth and I will never be able to take it back. Their confidence will plummet, they will throw it back at me when they are 18 and angry at me, and any sadness they have, I know it will because I failed them that day.

Well, that may happen, but I have something significantly more scary to share with you. In fact, you have almost with certainty, already "screwed" them up and it was during a moment that you were calm, thoughtful and even fully conscious of the words coming out of your mouth. You deliberately said these words with the intention of helping them, boosting their confidence and making them smile.

One of the greatest books I have read on parenting is not really a parenting book at all. It's called Mindset and it's by Carol Dweck. I read this book upon recommendation by someone I trust and it is one that I believe every parent, employer/boss, teacher or influencer of any kind should read. In fact, even if you are not an influencer to others, you are to yourself. You determine your own values, self worth and potential. The trouble is, most of these "decisions" that you made around these topics, were suggested to you by others, and you adopted them to heart.

Do you remember that time they got an A in spelling and you told them how smart they are?
Or what about that time she hit the baseball and got a home run and you told them they were the best player that day?
Oh, and what about that time he did that school play and you told them, "you're a natural! I can't believe how great you are at that. I am so proud of you!"

Well, If you have said any of the previous statements, you have screwed up your kids. Crazy right?!?! I know! It scared the poop out of me so I wanted to understand why.

To save my typing and missing some key points, I very strongly encourage you to watch the video below. It is a summary of a study on Praise for Intelligence vs Praise for Effort and the INSTANT ramifications of it. If you have a Fixed mindset yourself, which most of us do, this will be troubling. But if you have or want to develop a Growth Mindset, you will find this incredibly empowering and want to learn more.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWv1VdDeoRY

This was such a simple study that was all done in one day that had such dramatic results, for better or worse. Can you imagine days, weeks and months of this subtle change in praise and the positive results that could come if they heard it from teachers, coaches and of course, parents?

Build a Biz Kids trains our facilitators in a growth mindset and are continuing to learn more and more about our impact on students. We would like to encourage the parents of our students to join us in learning and practicing the subtle difference and see the incredible results.

My son would often give up very early on projects and not want to strive to go the extra mile on something like handmade birthday cards, school projects, and yes, even his business when taking our program. But once we discovered that some of this lack of effort might actually be our fault, we made a change, and the results were immediate!

Last week he, not only sat with no iPad or TV in the background, he completed his first ever model airplane. He painted and glued and and did everything he could until he had to wait for everything to dry. He even had a bit of a meltdown when he thought he broke a piece but the next time he was home with time to work on it, he couldn't wait to get back to it! Now he is looking to find the perfect model car to take on next.

We still catch ourselves when talking about how he played at baseball or in his school play wanting to tell him how amazing the results were, but we are getting faster and faster to catch ourselves and praise him on the effort he put into going to baseball practice each day; working really hard on remembering his lines for the play by reciting them in the car on the way to school and how impressed we are by the effort and creativity it took for him to come up with such unique ideas for his handmade birthday cards.

While not everyone in his life may understand fixed vs growth mindset or praising on effort rather than results, as parents, it starts at home. To date, this has been one of the most important blogs we have written and we really hope you will watch the video above to learn more. I really hope you will read the Book Mindset as well. We get zero dollars by promoting it.

Lastly, we hope that you realize that as a parent, an employee, as a friend, an artist, an entrepreneur and all of the other titles you hold, you, too, may have a fixed mindset based on fixed praise and values you were given as a child, and even as an adult. But with awareness and persistence, you can reprogram yourself to want more, do more, and have greater confidence to take on new challenges.

We wish you growth


Being Aware While Still Having Fun!

This weekend was a fun filled event for Build a Biz Kids. We were honoured to be volunteering at the Port Moody RibFest in the Kids Center where we had an information booth along with 3 games for kids of all ages. If you haven’t been to RibFest before, you missed out on a great event so be sure to put it into your calendar for next year.

But back to the topic of this blog. Every time we do an event we love people/family watching and observing others as it can help you to learn a lot about yourself as well as perhaps seeing through a child’s lens of the world and the people they interact with around them.

I have a few stories I would love to tell over the next few blogs that I hope will help you with your own personal journey of continuing to become a great parent and mentor to your children so they, will in turn, become successful and fulfilled adults.

The first story is an observation our VP noticed of a family of 4. Mom and Dad along with 2 kids between about 6 and 8 years.

We had 2 great games provided by the event, both along the same lines. Throw the ball or hit the puck into the wooden cut outs to test your skill & accuracy.

This family was undoubtedly having a wonderful family day together. They looked like any other family when they walked up, however, he just noticed that through their fun and laughter, they may have created a behaviour habit that we noticed wasn’t encouraging their children to try new things or take risks. Of course, once observing this, I encourage you to look in yourself, as we try to do, on whether we are also unknowingly do this as well.

Here's the innocent interaction that occurred. Each parent went up to the football toss to try their skill at throwing the football through one of the two holes in the quarterback cutout. Mom walks up and takes a try, misses and the ball bounces off the boards. The dad starts laughing very hard and encourages the kids to do the same. “Haha, you missed!”

Dad steps up and tries, misses as well. Mom roars in laughter and gets the kids giggling and pointing at dad and how he failed. “Haha, you suck!”

Everyone was having an innocent enough of a time and laughing lots which is always great but when the parents asked the kids if they wanted to try…. Unsurprisingly, each said no.

This exchange was short and innocent. Something I can see myself doing with my friends at a carnival when one tries to win the big stuffed animal and doesn’t even come close to making it. We all laugh and taunt them and it’s all in good fun with no ones feelings getting hurt. We all understand the spirit of the moment and it's a super fun time.

But in this moment, the parents are having a great time but have perhaps unknowingly created an environment where their kids don’t understand that “spirit” and have developed a fear around failing with witnesses. They have seen what happens to you when you “fail”. You are mocked, laughed at and told you suck by those you hope to have acceptance and encouragement from. Who would want to take risks in that environment?

I write this not to shame this family. Truly, we have all done this as kids, teens and adults when around peers. But like many instances, our kids haven’t developed their confidence yet and need reasons to try new things, not shy away from them.

All in all, it can sometimes be tough to understand context as adults when it comes to how you relax and converse with your best friend and significant other, vs when you are around your kids. Laughter, joking, and lightheartedness is strongly encouraged; just remember, the minds of children don't develop over night. They evolve based on the conditioning their environment presents to them.