Book review: Mind in the Making

Mind in the MakingI'm about to get an overdue notice from the library for this book, Mind in the Making by Ellen Galinsky, and it's for the simple reason that the book is so good I haven't wanted to send it back just yet. The subtitle is 'The seven essential life skills that every child needs' and I agree with every single one. 

Based heavily on research, with 'real life' parent stories, Galinsky's book argues that every child today needs these seven skills: focus and self control, perspective taking, communicating, making connections, critical thinking, taking on challenges and self-directed, engaged learning.

I've just read her chapter on resilience and stress in which she asks this question: "How can you as a (parent or educator) promote taking on challenges in children?" and answers it with these thirteen suggestions:

1. Manage your own stress

2. Turn to others who can help you manage your own stress

3. Take time for yourself

4. Don't shield your child from everyday stresses

5. Know that a warm, caring and trusting relationship with your child makes you a stress-buster

6. Try to keep your own 'alarm button' on low

7. Understand your child's temperament. Observe what your child does to calm down and build on his or her strengths

8. Promote 'goodness of expectations' (which is basically - adjust your expectations of your child so they're not overly high or crazy low)

9. Give your child appropriate levels of control in managing stress

10. If your child is shy, let him watch new situations first and then introduce change slowly

11. Promote and foster your child's passions

12. Cultivate a growth mindset in your children (in other words, help them realise they can learn and get better)

13. Praise your child's effort and strategies, not his or her personality (or results)