I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside, give them a sense of pride…
…inspired by these beautiful lyrics of Whitney Houston’s song The Greatest Love of All, we are excited to explore seven practical steps you can take to raise a child who will make a real difference in the world. Seven steps to help your child feel happy and able and achieve success in life.
Step #1: Unconditional Love.
Tell your child everything you love about them, and what makes them special: their appearance, personality, characteristics, inventiveness, creativity, inquisitiveness, sense of humour – anything that shows you’ve noticed THEM, who they are and what they’re like.
Put a positive spin on their traits – if they’re stubborn you can tell them: “You are going to be a real achiever in life – you just don’t give up”. Or, “I think when you’re older you could be a great scientist, you love finding out about things and really try to understand how things work.”
You know you love your child even if they aren’t perfect, but they don’t always know that. So tell your child it doesn’t matter what they achieve in a test, what they decide to do in life – their career, or whether how they identify. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had an argument, or if they’ve done something wrong. They need to know you always love them. They should also know that you love them just as they are. That they don’t have to BE anything or DO anything to be lovable. They’re just loved.
Step #2: Notice achievement.
As parents, we often ignore the good things our child does, and comment on the things they do wrong. So, make the conscious decision to only notice the good things. Try to comment every time you notice your child trying hard, persevering, working hard at something, making an effort or approaching a situation positively. This will encourage a “growth mindset” and build your child’s confidence and self-esteem.
Don’t praise your child using phrases such as: amazing, fantastic, brilliant, wonderful good girl, good boy, well done etc. These words don’t give your child an insight into what you appreciated. Instead just try to describe at least 10 positive things your child does each day. A simple way to start the sentence is by saying: “You…” or “I noticed you…”
Your child will know that you’re pleased, and understand why, when you say with a smile:
“You cleared your plate and cup”.
“You made your bed”, or
“I noticed you put away all your toys.”
Step #3: Set consistent boundaries.
It’s important to talk together as a family and decide on the rules you want to work on. The rule should describe the behaviour you WANT. For instance: “In our home we talk politely and respectfully”. The rules should apply to adults as well as children.
Also, set up good routines. Help your child work out what they need to do, to get ready in the morning, do their homework well and go to bed at night at the right time. Get your child to make a list or chart and encourage them to refer to it, until the routine becomes established, and they follow it consistently. Being able to stick consistently to routines will help your child feel more successful and able.
Positive discipline is the help adults give to children to help them develop self-control. It’s normal for children to have strong feelings and behave badly sometimes. Punishment, threats, and time-outs cause resentment, and damage your relationship. However a good relationship is the most important thing to motivate your children to behave well.
Step #4: Teach your child social skills.
Help your child develop social skills by spending quality time with them every day and playing with them. Help them develop the ability to win well, lose well, play fair, take turns, share, and play by the rules. If your child struggles with friendship issues, really listen to them, help them think of solutions then practice at home, using role play, so they can learn how to resolve tricky situations.
Step #5: Encourage self-reliance.
Many parents, out of a sense of love, do too much for their children, and deny them the opportunity to feel capable and successful about doing things for themselves. From the earliest possible opportunity, children should do things they are capable of doing for themselves.
It’s also good for children to help at home, as part of the family team. Doing housework, gardening, cooking, leaning, clearing up for about 2 hours a week. This helps children move away from their own selfish needs, and expectations to be looked after, and towards a mindset that everybody contributes to the well-being of others.
Step #6: Encourage contribution.
Children who volunteer to help others will be happier and feel better about themselves. There are many ways to achieve this. It could be getting your child to research the charity they most want to support and donate 10% of their pocket money to charity; befriend a child who is lonely at school; eat only ethically-sourced chocolate, help walk an elderly neighbours dog etc. Anything that helps a child develop an attitude of kindness, generosity and open-heartedness.
Step #7: Empower your child.
To help your child make a difference in the world and maintain strong mental health, it’s important to encourage them to set goals, learn skills and develop a “can do” mindset. Although your natural inclination may be to protect and lavish care on your child, they will benefit most if you can help them reach their goals, keep going and persevere at things they attempt, even when they want to give up.
“I’m going to encourage you to try hard, work at things, and use your inner strength to overcome challenges. So, you can learn how strong and capable you really are. It may not be easy at times, and if things get tough you may just want me to let you off the hook or do things for you. But, to help you, I’m going to encourage you to overcome challenges and push you to keep going.”
It’s important to show you trust that your child is capable of great things, even when they don’t believe that themselves.
Adapted for www.clamberclub.com from an article by Elizabeth O’Shea (parenting specialist & child behaviour expert) based in U.K. https://www.parent4success.com/