Every parent wants to see their child succeed. There are many nights spent worrying whether or not we’re doing a good job, teaching all of the right lessons the right way, handling situations correctly, and being the right kind of parent for our kids. We want to do right by them and set them up for their best chance to succeed in the world.
Parenting has been tough for every generation but it seems like now more than ever there are things vying for our children’s attention. With social media and devices in the way to not only distract our kids but us, finding the time to instill in our children the values and lessons we want them to take with them into their adult lives is no small feat.
If you want your children to grow up to be leaders and to find success in their lives, you’re in for a tough battle. Sometimes you can do everything right and it still won’t go the way you hoped.
At the same time, these are some incredible tips that I’ve picked up: either from my own parenting journey or from being parented myself a long, long time ago: the things that helped make me the man I am today.
4 Lessons on Raising Your Children to Lead
1) Be the example.
Whatever lesson you want your child to learn, it’s crucial as a parent to be the example for your child. Children recognize hypocrisy a mile away, one, but they also learn more by imitation than by your telling them what to do. Be the kind of person that you want them to grow into someday. You’ll find the lesson you teach sticking a lot more easily if you set a good example!
Earn their way up.
If you want your children to develop leadership skills, independence, and a strong sense for business, start by having them earn their allowance. It’s a very simple step that can make a big impact. You can start to teach them about money management and the value of work, but also teach them about leading in the home and contributing to the household through chores.
The sooner kids can learn that life doesn’t hand them success and that it must be earned, the better.
2) Encourage teamwork.
Teamwork can take many forms. It doesn’t always have to be about joining a sports team. Encouraging teamwork for your children might mean asking them to cook a meal together once a week, help you plan a family trip (taking part in decision-making), or joining Scouts. It may be band or another extracurricular activity if they don’t enjoy sports.
Use their interests and find opportunities to incorporate teamwork. In a team-based setting, regardless of their position on that team, they’ll learn how to facilitate, communicate, and accomplish goals as a unit—all valuable skills in leadership.
Children are often underestimated by adults. We often make the mistakes of treating them as though they’re dumb (even if we don’t think we are) by leaving them out of conversations, dismissing their opinions, and steamrolling over them in any given situation. You can help foster leadership by giving them agency and responsibility. Negotiate with them! Rather than shutting them down with simple “yes” or “no” answers to requests, give them options. Pitch ideas.
It helps them begin to weigh opportunity cost and think critically about what they want. This helps them learn how to talk to you, express their desires, and communicate them.
4) Be openly optimistic.
A parent should never, ever underestimate the power of their encouragement in a child’s life. It’s not enough to simply congratulate a child when they do well but to be a constant force of encouragement and optimism even when things don’t seem to go their way. When tests come back with less-than-glowing grades, when games are lost, when friends fight, that’s when it’s more important than ever to show your support.
A pessimistic parent has the power to destroy their child’s will to try when approval becomes too lofty and out-of-reach. It’s not about becoming a parent that has no rules or standards, but about being a parent who is always speaking encouragement into your child’s life. It’s teaching your child that life is good and that even when it seems bad, it will get better.
At a young age, this is especially important when developing a drive to overcome challenges and obstacles. You want your child to see challenges to overcome, mountains to climb, and worlds to conquer.
If you want a child who grows up to lead, let them see a world full of endless possibilities.
What lesson from your parents, a teacher, or mentor helped you become a leader? Share with me in the comments.