Good parenting plays a key role in determining the kind of person a child will become as an adult. In fact, studies conducted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show that quality parenting leads to a number of positive child outcomes, including improved physical and mental health, higher educational attainment, and enhanced cognitive development. When parents are a positive presence in their children’s lives, they create a model for their children to follow as they grow up. Instilling values such as emotional regulation, empathy, and hard work equips children with the skills necessary to navigate the challenges of day-to-day life.
Below, we’ll discuss the steps parents need to take to raise successful children.
Show Understanding and Acceptance
As an adult, the things that cause children distress may seem trivial to you. After all, what’s a broken toy in comparison to adult problems like debt, marital conflicts, and career pressure?
However, it’s important to remember that your child is experiencing everything for the first time. They don’t know yet that there’s more to the world than their family, their school, and their toys. So instead of berating your daughter for crying over Barbie’s broken arm, show her that she can survive the pain that she’s feeling. By providing non-judgmental acceptance and understanding, you don’t just establish yourself as a person she can trust, you also teach her how to safely navigate her emotions, which better equips her to handle bigger problems in the future.
Being a good listener is vital. According to our article entitled ‘Easy Ways to Be a Better Listener to Your Child’, Parents Should be ready to tune in, validate emotions, and ask good questions. You can, for example, ask “Do you want my help, or do you just want to let your feelings out?” to help your child identify how to process their emotions. By listening to your child, you let them know that their concerns are valid and important. And when you show children that they are valued, you strengthen their self-esteem.
Make Empathy a Priority
Ensure your children build the skills necessary to foster good relationships with their peers by teaching values like empathy. Modelling empathy by simply listening to your child and showing them understanding is a great first step.
Certain activities, such as journaling and storytelling, can also help. As explained in an article about activities that teach empathy by SymptomFind, telling stories is one of the best ways to develop an ability to understand others. Read your children books so they can place themselves in the shoes of characters with different experiences and circumstances. By keeping your child engaged in the well-being of fictional (or even non-fictional) characters, they learn to care about people outside of themselves.
Reward Efforts, Not Abilities
It might seem harmless to praise children for traits, such as intelligence and creativity. However, according to Stanford University professor Carol Dweck, doing so may foster wrong beliefs about success. Let’s say, for example, that you constantly praise your son’s good test results by calling him intelligent. If you don’t make the connection between his efforts to succeed academically and the results these bring, he may only internalise the idea that he is intelligent. Consequently, when that belief is challenged by something like a bad test score, he may not think “I didn’t study hard enough,” and instead think “I am not intelligent.”
He might even feel the need to maintain his internalised belief about himself and avoid situations that might prove it wrong, robbing himself of new opportunities. If this belief is left unchallenged, he may even put less effort and bank on the belief that his supposed innate intelligence will produce good results. Encourage hard work by praising your children for their actions. Reward your son when he studies, completes his homework, and finishes projects. This way, he’ll be more motivated to put effort going forward.
You can’t secure good futures for your children by controlling outcomes. Instead, instill the correct values to give them the tools to navigate challenges with confidence and ease.