We are responsible for teaching our kids personal development. At least until their teenage years. Not only do we have the obligation to teach our own kids, but also to be a positive influence on any children we have contact with. Let them know personal development is important.
Of course, as with most things concerning kids, the direct approach is not the most effective. You don’t want to sit your children down and explain the idea of personal development to them and talk about why it’s important for their future. Unless you’re looking for a bedtime story.
Instead, you need to teach by being an example, using examples, and having a consistent mindset for self improvement. And, you need to think carefully about the message you convey.
As adults we define success as having a good job, having a lot of money, being in a happy marriage with the “right” number of kids, driving a nice car. And we traditionally expect our kids to follow a path that will lead them to have this type of success.
So we expect from our kids that they will get good grades, choose a good college, hang out with the other “good” kids, be in the band or on the sports team (and be good at it). We oftentimes push our kids to be the best that they can be. And because they’re our kids, that means they’ll get A’s, and go away to highly ranked schools with all of their friends. They’ll be first chair in the band, and first string on the team.
But not every kid will be all those things. In fact, few will. And many don’t even want those things. Which doesn’t mean they’ll grow up to be “failures.” Maybe that just isn’t where their focus is now. Or maybe they’ll take a different path to success. Or maybe, [shudder, shudder] that just isn’t their definition of success.
Instead of pushing our kids to meet a societal-imposed definition of success, we need to praise them for being who they are. Look for the positive and constantly re-enforce it. Even if the positive is the ability to find matching clothes and be ready for school on time.
If we constantly just push for more and better, our kids start feeling like no matter what they do, they’ve failed. If we praise their everyday efforts and re-enforce their positive involvement in the things that are important to them, then they will feel like a success.
If our kids feel successful giving their personal best in the things that are of interest to them, they will feel empowered to do anything they want to do in life. If we expect less and praise more, our kids will likely be happier and feel more successful in life than if we try to do them the “favor” of pushing them to be the best at something we find important to success.
Just something to think about next time you start to yell at your child for making a bad pass on the court.
JENNIFER HERNDON works from home with her kids. She has been enjoying the time freedom and financial rewards of working at home for over 11 years. Jennifer’s passion is empowering you to success through a positive mental attitude and consistent action. Discover the Seven Simple Success Steps in Jennifer’s free mini-course designed to give you the tools to grow yourself and your home business.