Print PDF

Learned Mastery vs Learned Helplessness

A primary hope and desire by most parents is for their child to become a responsible, contributing member of society.
It is up to the parent/s to teach their child/ren how to become self-reliant and independent. At the same time, the child needs to know how to honor boundaries, know their limits, and have an overall respect for others and life.

With this core value, most children will develop the self confidence they need to tackle any endeavor of their choosing.....knowing they can be successful. At Crossroads Institute we call this Learned Mastery.

In the field of psychology, Dr. Martin Seligman (1975) explored a concept call "Learned Helplessness". This is a belief that one has no control over their situations. When children operate under this belief that they lack the talent to improve their lot in life, they can fall into "I can't" attitude. Unfortunately, children can learn this behavior from their peers, authority figures or even their parents.

Teaching the Mastery Concept

Within Crossroads Institute's BrainMax Program we encourage children to go beyond this behavior and embrace Learned Mastery. We use proven methods of instruction known as Mastery Transfer Techniques. These techniques are designed to develop an "I can" attitude. They are taught to master whatever endeavor they choose.

Once your child is enrolled in the program, their progress is monitored and re-assessed by:
  • Creating goals that are attainable in order to ensure that the child is aware of the progress they are making.
  • Offering positive feedback and affirmation for changes and progress made.
  • Including the child in the program by making sure they know they reach their goals and they do the program.
  • Offering proper support so the child learns to be motivated about their program and has the desire to be a part of the change.
  • Establishing strategies to support the parents with the use of parent-child behavioral management skills specific to the child's needs.
  • Teaching children and their parents how to stretch the challenge in order to "go for more".
  • Re-assessing each child's progress and overall improvement.
Based upon the results of each re-assessment the program is modified and new goals are set.