Parenting is beautiful, but it can also be very challenging. No one gives you an instruction manual at the hospital when they hand you your bundle of joy. Raising children is the most important thing you will ever do, but it's probably one of the hardest too. The goal, of course, is to raise a happy and successful child. Easier said than done. But here are some tried and true methods to help your kids grow up to be their best selves.
Give them unconditional love
Loving your children seems like a given, but emotions between parents and children can be very complex. While most parents love their kids more than anything in the world, sometimes they aren’t great at showing it. Your child should always feel safe in the knowledge that you will love them and support them unconditionally. Don’t hinge your love on their achievements, good behavior or attitude. From the earliest childhood, love is one of the greatest factors in creating a sense of security and confidence.
Encourage them to follow their dreams
It’s okay for children to dream big, and to try to make those dreams come true. Also, make peace with the fact that their dreams are their own, and they might not coincide with yours. Children need a strong support system to follow their dreams, and the role of the family is to provide this system. Strive to provide them with stability, sound advice and plenty of support. This is especially important when it comes to choice of school – one of the most important decisions in any kid’s life. Sometimes finances get in the way of dreams. However, even families going through a tough time financially can find a way to support their children, by exploring different options such as tax-free high school scholarships.
Teach them hard work
When you love your children as much as you do, you might feel tempted to hand them everything on a silver platter. Parents who do so are actually doing their children a disservice. Kids should learn that success depends on effort and that everything has to be earned. Don’t be afraid to give your child proper responsibilities with a realistic set of rewards and negative consequences. That way you will instill in them not just a work ethic, but also a sense of responsibility and accountability. Always be consistent and fair with rules, while still enforcing them with plenty of love.
Give them freedom
A certain amount of freedom is indispensable in a child’s development, from the earliest age. You should be around in case your kid needs you, but don’t hover waiting to pounce the second your little one needs to do anything or make a decision. Decision-making – even when it’s banal choices, like an outfit or an ice cream flavor – is crucial for developing confidence. Don’t do things instead of your kids to make their life easier. Letting them try (and fail) will teach them tenacity. They will also learn that failure is a normal part of life, and they will learn how to deal with it sooner rather than later.
Try to have a realistic picture of your child’s abilities, wishes and talents. It’s okay to support them in something they love, even when they don’t excel at it. It’s not okay to push them towards achievements that they simply aren’t cut out for, or interested in, just because it’s something you feel strongly about. The key is to set the bar high, but not so high that they are unable to reach it. Communication is essential here – sometimes parents don’t even know whether their children enjoy something or not, because they never thought to ask.
No one can give you a magic formula that will guarantee that your children will achieve all of their dreams. However, a loving and supportive family can make a world of difference in steering children on the road to happiness and success.