We love our children and we’re perfectly aware just how great they are. However, the rest of the world doesn’t see them the way we do, and things that are obvious to us may not be quite so apparent to others. Our children have the potential to be happy and successful, but in order for that to happen, they must learn how to navigate the world of adults at an early age and gain skills that will help them further their goals. If you want to know how to raise your children to be successful, there are steps you can take to nurture both their ambition and curiosity.
Encourage their interests
If you remember your life when you were a kid, you’ll remember that the quickest way to lose interest in something was for someone to tell you that you had to do it. Imagine how your child feels when you keep forcing them to go to those piano lessons that they hate and complain about every time. Instead of pushing them into a million extracurricular activities, simply let them discover their own interests. Perhaps your child will never be the Mozart you want them to be, but they might end up being Marie Curie. Even the seemingly trite interests such as comics and video games could mean that your child has potential you never even considered. Of course, if you think that something might be good for them, then you can absolutely have them do it. Just be careful how you present it to them. Don’t show up one day and demand that they start learning French. Show them some French cartoons and talk to them what a cool country France is. Soon enough, they’ll ask to learn it on their own.
Teach them social skills
Sadly, a lot of parents like to focus solely on academic success, forgetting to teach their children how to navigate their way through social situations. However, their emotional intelligence can have just as much of an impact on their lives. They need to know how to deal with awkwardness, handle rejection and make the best of a situation if they want to one day get into college or find a job with ease.
Teach them responsibility
Don’t always go cleaning up after your child as they rush off to play, carefree and oblivious to your frustration. Sometimes, they really need to see the consequences of their actions to really know what irresponsibility can lead to. If they didn’t finish their homework because they were too busy playing, don’t make excuses for them with the teacher. Have them help you with chores as much as they can. Even small children can pick up their own toys and put them away, or help with the dishes and clean up. Make sure they understand that their day can be a lot more pleasant if they finish all their obligations before sitting down to play.
Let them have high expectations
There is nothing sweeter than a child with a dream they are passionate about. Your child needs to have faith in themselves and know that many things are possible if you work hard enough to get them. This doesn’t mean that you need to encourage every passing fancy but nurture their talents and their ideas. As your kid grows and the time comes for higher education, they’ll learn that there is a lot of competition and it might be difficult for them to remain focused if they don’t feel like they are able to accomplish as much as the rest. Getting into college is always frightening and this is where you need to give them your full support. Find ways to get them help with university admissions because if they don’t know their options, they might not pick the right path for themselves and then the rest of the road will be rocky at best.
Get them excited about learning
A kid that is being forced to study is a kid that’s forever going to be unhappy to open a book and learn anything. You need to help them find their love of learning from an early age. A good way to do this is to teach them to love reading and to make sure you never make learning a form of punishment. If they do something wrong, don’t send them to their room and make them study. Knowledge is fun and you should talk to your kids about why it’s cool to know many things. If they are having a hard time with a subject consider getting them a tutor, or finding ways to approach it differently so they can understand it better.
Ultimately, the most important thing is for your child to feel loved and to know that you’ll be there for them no matter what. Overly ambitious parents can end up scaring their children and making them either too focused on academics or completely resentful of them. Let your child explore the world at their own pace, and be there to encourage their progress and help them through the rough patches. That will be more than enough.
About the author:
Tracey Clayton is a full-time mom of three girls. She feels she knows a thing or two about raising happy, healthy and confident kids, and offers helpful advice in hers parenting articles. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”