As a parent, preparing my children for a successful future is one of those topics that keep me up at night. My peer group of parents are investing more heavily in our children than any other previous generation of parents. More of our time, our resources, and ourselves. No wonder we are all so busy! There is much that sets us apart from our parental role models – education, socio-economics, globalization, and technology are just to name a few.
Parents today are both savvy and unrelenting in what they will do to see their children succeed. In many ways we are over-complicating and over-burdening our notions of success out of anxiety for our children’s future. Consequently we are over-scheduling and at times burning out our children. We think the road to success is paved by taking on more activities or spending more hours at the newest learning center. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly have expectations for my children but I often find myself questioning if they are the “right” expectations.
With a deep desire to provide my children with a road map for success, I looked at both my workplace and my husband’s experience with the sport of triathlon. It wasn’t long before I realized little people and big people aren’t all that different. The way I coach adults to be successful at business and sport would work for my kids as well. Puling from my knowledge of performance and motivation psychology, I was able to build a framework for raising successful children. And it’s working.
From my experience, parents are already doing many of the things I mention here. You may or may not realize you are doing them. Or maybe you don’t realize how your own personal success practice can apply to your children. You might simply need some encouragement to put what you already know into a useable daily structure. Let’s see if my “secrets” validate what you already know!
Outlined below are what I find my most successful clients, friends, and family all have in common. These 5 “secrets” form the way we as a family think about success and direct how we develop our children.
5 Secrets for Raising Successful Children
Secret # 1: Hard work
Teach your children to persevere in the face of adversity. How we overcome challenges in our life have a direct impact our our personal growth and future perspective. Define what hard work or good effort means to your child. Did they give it their all on the soccer field? Did they practice their instrument the requisite times? Did they study for that test? Did they complete their chores? These are all appropriate ways for a child to show effort whether they are 5 or 15. Sure, we expect them to do all these things but don’t forget the effort it takes to complete these tasks.
Secret # 2: Initiative
Teach your children to go the extra mile. In my opinion, initiative comes naturally to children since they are largely achievement oriented. They want to be “helpers” and “do gooders” even if their behavior doesn’t always demonstrate this. Initiative is putting in an extra 15 minutes of practice a day at the sport they love. Initiative is going to extra help even though they may not need it. Initiative is helping Mom and Dad when it isn’t on the chore chart. Give clear examples of what initiative “looks like” so your children can draw the connection.
Secret # 3: Good Attitude
Teach your children how to turn can’ts into cans. Show them through modeling the behavior what a good attitude looks like. Attitude can be more difficult for children to understand. The best way for me to teach my kids attitude is to point out real life examples of good or bad attitude. When you get good cooperation, “thanks for being a great team member. Do you think this is an example of good attitude or bad attitude?” If you get a grumble, ask them “do you think grumbling is a good attitude or a bad attitude.
Secret # 4: Confidence
The more I observe human behavior and what drives success, I find confidence continues to be at the root. As this is something even adults struggle with it can be hard for us to teach our children. Confidence can be elusive because it is often associated with a feeling. Think about how we feel when we are confident. When we are confident we feel energized, positive, calm, knowing, strong, open to new things. Teach your children how to identify with these feelings and tie them back to an action. When your child puts in a solid effort at their next soccer game, ask them how they feel. Building our children’s confidence will build their resiliency. Resiliency will help them navigate the more turbulent teenage years.
Step # 5: Consistency
Teach your children the power of discipline and habit creation. Teach them that putting in a little effort and initiative each day goes a long way. Through consistency we build powerful habits that lay the foundation for our future success. The best way to teach consistency is set up a method to help you track the habit you want to create. When it comes to consistency, you want to teach the PROCESS as well as the concept.
Bonus! Subscribers to our weekly newsletter, The Successletter, will receive a tool to help teach consistency to adults and kids!
Remember, these are just my family’s “secrets!” We have spent years cultivating and developing these in our children. Each family will have their own secret sauce. The most important thing about success is to DEFINE it for yourself!