The term “successful child” means something different to each of us. For some successful may mean rich and famous, for others it may mean having achieved great social popularity, but for most parents raising successful children means simply raising them to be happy, well adjusted, and productive adults. No matter how much effort a parent puts in, there can never be a guarantee to how their child will turn out, but if you focus on these 10 areas then you will more than likely have a happy child who will grow up to be an equally happy adult.
Be a Role Model
Children often mimic their parents. After all, from birth they look to their parents to show them how to act, how to talk, how to treat others, etc. You are the person your children look up to the most, so make sure you are being worthy of the honor. If you want your children to grow up with a strong work ethic then show them by example with your own work ethic. If you want them to grow up to be kind and generous then let them see you volunteering at a soup kitchen or donating to charity. You are the most important person in their life so if you want them to grow up to be happy then show them what a happy adult looks like by being one yourself.
Keep a positive attitude around your children. If you are the type of person who goes off on rants when you feel someone has done you wrong, make sure you are ranting to an appropriate person (i.e. another adult) and not your children. Also be careful not to complain about money or relationship problems to or in front of your children, as these are grown-up issues that can leave a child strained or worried about things that are beyond their control. Keep a positive and optimistic attitude around your children and they are more likely to grow up with a positive attitude themselves.
A child cannot be spoiled with love. Spoiling happens because a child’s every whim was given in to, not because she was over-loved. There is no such thing as giving a child too much love so shower your child will love and affection. A child who knows she is loved is a happy child, she will grow up understanding what healthy love looks like and will be able to form better relationships with others because of it. Affection also leads to a child feeling safe and secure in her relationship with her parents as well as feeling comfortable to be herself at home.
Our children are not always going to take the path we want them to. You may think that your child was born for the stage and really want her to sign up for drama class, and are disappointed when she signs up for marching band instead. Don’t let her know you are disappointed in her choice. It’s her life and it is healthy for her to be able to make her own decisions. Always be supportive of your child’s decisions and let her know that you are proud of her, even when you don’t agree with what she has decided to do.. She will grow up with confidence in her decisions and abilities because of it.
Set Rules & Enforce Them
Children like rules. Believe it or not, they actually want you to set rules for them. This gives them structure, which makes them feel safe and stable. Rules also let them know that you care about them, otherwise you wouldn’t bother. It is important once you set rules that you enforce them. Enforcing the rules teaches your child that there are consequences to her actions and that she is going to be held responsible for the decisions that she makes. Parents who set rules but then allow their child to break them with no consequences are teaching their child that she is not going to be held accountable for her actions, which is not how society works. Be reasonable in the rules that you set, don’t go overboard. Keep in mind that the rules you set for your child now are going to lay the foundation for the rules she sets for herself when she is grown: don’t be too hard on her now so that she won’t be too hard on herself later.
Build a Foundation Based on Mutual Respect
Respect should always flow two ways. The best way to earn your child’s respect and trust is to treat her with respect in return. This means always giving her your full attention and really listening to her when she speaks to you. It also means respecting her possessions, privacy, and space. When she does something wrong, always take the time to explain why what she did was wrong, why you feel the need to punish her for it, and why you chose the punishment that you are imposing. If you ever lose your cool and snap at your child, apologize and let her know that you realize you would not appreciate her speaking to you that way so you had no right to speak to her like that. Treating your child in a respectful manner builds trust, which makes her more likely to come to you when she has a major problem such as being bullied or harmed by someone. Building a parent/child relationship founded on mutual respect is the best way to keep the lines of communication open so that your child will not feel the need to keep secrets or lie to you about issues in her life.
Besides helping to take some of the household load off of busy parents, assigning chores and making your child stick to them teaches her a life lesson. Chores teach a child responsibility and a good work ethic, two qualities that make a successful adult. Participating in chores also makes a child feel like she is a contributing member of the family, which makes her feel important and boosts her self esteem. So make a chore chart and push through all the nagging it is going to take to get your child to actually complete her chores because the benefits far outweigh the trouble.
Encourage your child’s creativity every chance you get. Children need to be raised to be able to think for themselves. Be careful not to push your wants and wishes on your child, but rather allow her to decide for herself which path she wants to choose. And when she has a dilemma or an important decision to make don’t make the decision for her. Instead ask her what she thinks she should do and why. Encourage her to talk it out with you and to form her own opinion about what she should ultimately do. Teach her how to make her own decisions and she will grow up to be confident in her ability to do so.
Encourage Her to Always Finish What She Starts
Don’t let your child be a quitter. Encourage her to always finish what she starts. For example, if she signs up for soccer but decides after the first game that she doesn’t like soccer all that much after all, don’t sigh in relief that you won’t have to attend eight weeks’ worth of soccer games and allow her to quit the team. Instead let her know that you understand she isn’t as interested in soccer as she thought she would be, but that she made a commitment to play this season and that she needs to honor that commitment and finish the season, but she does not have to ever sign up to play soccer again if she doesn’t want to. By doing this you are teaching her that once she commits to something she has made a promise to see it through and that she should always keep that promise. She will grow up with a stronger work ethic because of it.
We all want our children to grow up to be kind, compassionate, and giving towards others and considerate towards the environment. The best way to teach your children about kindness is to be proactive in your own generosity and compassion towards your fellow human beings. Have your children help you plant and grow a garden, and then donate the fresh produce to your local food bank. Take them to help you pick up litter around your neighborhood or local park. Have them help you collect aluminum cans, take them to a recycling plant that pays you for turning them in, and then let them decide which local charity or church to donate the money to. Show them how good kindness and generosity towards others feels and they will carry it with them into adulthood.