Unlocking Your Child's Full Potential: 11 Game-Changing Strategies for Raising Successful Adults
Boost your child's confidence and resilience with these 11 proven strategies. From teaching responsibility with chores to letting them know that failure is okay, you'll find everything you need to help your child thrive.
When parents say they want their children to grow up to be successful adults, it can mean a variety of things. According to research by psychologist Angela Duckworth, success is heavily influenced by a combination of grit and motivation. However, defining "success" is subjective. Some describe it as taking over the business world, having good relationships with others, developing unbreakable self-love, or a combination of things. When I was young, my mom told me she would consider me a success if I grew up to be a good human who treats people well. Let's talk about some ways to raise successful adults, regardless of your personal description of the word on a human level.
Support their interests
You might not understand all your child's interests or why they like what they do, but you can still support them as much as possible. For example, your child might love art, but you may think there's little of a future in it as a career. It's still important to show interest in their activities and passions by asking them questions, attending shows, and discussing their projects and homework. This can help foster a growth mindset and encourage them to develop their talents to the fullest.
Talk to them about what you know
I've had friends tell me they wish their parents had explained more about what they knew about various subjects because they feel it could have benefited them in many ways. Sharing what you learn in an honest, thoughtful manner, whether it's advice or tips about how to do something, could end up sticking with your kids in a positive way. This can be particularly important when it comes to imparting knowledge about financial matters or business insights, which can help set them up for future success.
Encourage an open dialogue
One thing my mom was great at was encouraging an open dialogue. She never made me feel like I couldn't talk to her about things. Even my friends used to come over and converse with her because they felt they could. It wasn't something she learned to do as a child but rather discovered at some point and decided to incorporate it into raising me. This can be a key factor in fostering an authoritative parenting style, which has been shown to produce successful kids who are well-adjusted and have strong social skills.
Discuss financial matters
As great as my mom was with having an open dialogue about life topics, she was terrible with discussing financial matters. Anything I learned about finance I learned in school or on my own. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to discuss with your kids various monetary aspects, from managing money to how much a mortgage costs. This can help prepare them for the financial responsibilities of adulthood and avoid the overparenting trap that can lead to children who are ill-equipped to handle their own finances.
Teach responsibility with chores
My mom wouldn't let me get away with not doing chores. If I didn't do my own laundry, it wasn't done. Even though I didn't particularly appreciate doing many of the chores I had growing up (like cleaning out the fridge), I became grateful for it as I got older. Teaching children how to do chores rather than doing them yourself can significantly help them as they grow up and throughout adulthood. This can help foster a sense of independence and self-sufficiency, which are key traits of successful people.
Get to know their educators
I used to be nervous with every parent-teacher conference. My mother wasn't the type to pretend I was perfect. She would want to hear what I was doing right and wrong, and then we would discuss it. Then the teachers would talk to me about it, and the principal would have a few words. It was annoying when I was younger. However, as I went through high school, I felt like I had people who cared if I succeeded. It kicked off my ability to accept constructive criticism and see it as a tool rather than a personal attack.
Getting to know your child's educators and being open to what they say can have a significant impact in helping keep kids going in a positive direction. The feedback might not always be outstanding, but at least you'll have a realistic outlook on what's going on.
Grit is an essential characteristic for success. It's the ability to persevere through challenges and setbacks without giving up. Angela Duckworth, a psychologist and author, has researched the concept of grit and found that it's a better predictor of success than IQ or talent. Parents can encourage grit by praising their child's effort, teaching them to learn from failures, and helping them set achievable goals.
Practice Authoritative Parenting
Authoritative parenting is a parenting style that balances warmth and support with clear rules and consequences. This style of parenting has been linked to better outcomes for children, including higher academic achievement, better mental health, and more positive social skills. Esther Wojcicki, a teacher and author, advocates for authoritative parenting in her book "How to Raise Successful People." She argues that parents should focus on building a strong relationship with their children while also setting high expectations and holding them accountable.
Teach a Growth Mindset
Carol Dweck, a psychologist at Stanford University, developed the concept of a growth mindset, which is the belief that intelligence and abilities can be developed through hard work and dedication. Children with a growth mindset are more likely to embrace challenges, learn from failures, and persist through difficult tasks. Parents can teach a growth mindset by praising their child's effort, emphasizing the importance of learning and improvement, and reframing failures as opportunities for growth.
Provide Opportunities for Collaboration
Collaboration is an essential skill for success in today's world. Julie Lythcott-Haims, a former dean of freshmen at Stanford University, emphasizes the importance of collaboration in her book "How to Raise an Adult." She argues that parents should provide opportunities for their children to collaborate with others, whether it's through team sports, group projects, or volunteer work. Collaboration teaches children how to work with others, build relationships, and develop empathy and social skills.
Incorporate High Expectations
High expectations are a crucial component of raising successful children. Parents should set high expectations for their children and encourage them to strive for excellence. This doesn't mean pushing them to be perfect, but rather challenging them to do their best and reach their full potential. Children who are held to high expectations are more likely to develop a strong work ethic, self-discipline, and a sense of personal responsibility.
Raising successful children is a complex and challenging task, but it's also one of the most rewarding experiences a parent can have. By supporting their interests, encouraging an open dialogue, discussing financial matters, teaching responsibility with chores, getting to know their educators, letting them know failing is okay, asking for their opinion, encouraging grit, practicing authoritative parenting, teaching a growth mindset, providing opportunities for collaboration, and incorporating high expectations, parents can help their children achieve their full potential and become successful adults.