Take a moment to look at your child. Imagine where they’ll be next year in terms of their social, academic, and mental health. It shouldn’t be too difficult to envision how successful your child will be just 12 months down the road. Now, try to imagine your child five, 10, or even 20 years into the future. That’s when things become a little bit more difficult to predict.
As a parent, it’s natural to feel a lot of pressure regarding your youngster’s achievements in life. The things you teach and the care you give today will go a long way toward shaping your child’s future. Whether you have an inquisitive toddler or a know-it-all teenager, here are five ways to set them up for long-term success.
1. Provide an Academic Assist
The public school system primes many children for long-term growth, but is it enough for your child? Some youngsters require more individual attention than public or even private schools can provide. And after a year or two of pandemic-disrupted schooling, your kiddo might be in particular need of a scholastic hand up. A tutor can provide one-on-one attention and customized instruction that will help your child reach new heights academically.
Online tutoring is a convenient and effective way to give your child a head start on life. You can match your child up with a tutor who has the right skill set and personality to best meet their needs. Plus, online tutors can work around your child’s schedule, so no having to miss soccer practice for an after-school session. Best of all, online tutoring sessions provide the same overall experience and results as in-person ones.
2. Encourage Goal-Setting
Going through life without setting goals is a lot like drifting aimlessly on the ocean. You’re more likely to go wherever the wind happens to blow you instead of traveling purposefully to an intended destination. Teaching your young one to set goals is one of the most important things you can do for their future. To make goal-setting a habit in youth, get started as young as possible. Assist your child in choosing an objective they’ll be excited to work toward.
For example, your 5-year-old might decide they want to learn how to play a new sport. Help them determine what they’ll need to do to reach their goal, such as attending weekly practices and further honing their skills at home. Be a support as they work through any challenges they may face and celebrate their victories. Continue encouraging your child to set goals throughout life to give them the tools required to become an accomplished adult.
3. Let Them Make Mistakes
Watching your son or daughter make mistakes is one of the most difficult things you can do as a parent. Your natural inclination may be to save them from committing the same errors you did growing up. But think about all the things you learned from your own missteps and how they’ve shaped your life. They can do the same for your child if you don’t get in the way.
If your toddler is about to touch a hot stovetop, of course it’s your responsibility to step in. But when there’s no danger involved, it’s best to let young people make and learn from their mistakes. For example, imagine you’ve told your 8-year-old not to eat too much Halloween candy, but they do it anyway. They’ll probably learn more from the resulting bellyache than they would from weeks of lectures on the importance of healthy eating.
4. Teach Resilience
The path to long-term success is almost always paved with unexpected challenges that must be overcome. Resilience refers to a person’s ability to spring back from difficult circumstances and keep moving forward. A person who lacks resilience is more likely to cave under pressure and adversity. Unfortunately, many kids today lack the emotional resilience required to get through life’s tough challenges. This may be a product of today’s flawed cultural belief that children shouldn’t have to struggle.
Though it’s hard to see your little one go through hard times, discomfort and difficulty are stepping stones to resilience. To promote resilience in your own family, stress the importance of determination and a healthy sense of self-confidence. Let your child work through their problems instead of trying to solve them all for them. Be there to teach and encourage your child so they feel loved and supported while they’re developing resilience.
5. Help Them Identify Their Strengths
One of the best ways to enable your child to enjoy a successful future is to help them identify their strengths. Once they know what they’re good at, they’ll find it easier to pursue a career or life goal that’s a good fit. For example, a naturally empathetic teenager might make a great therapist, nurse, doctor, teacher, or other type of service-oriented professional. A young adult with good problem-solving skills and a natural inclination for mathematics could become an exceptional engineer.
Be careful not to push your child in the direction you think they should go. Instead, assist them in identifying their best attributes and passions so they can choose their own destiny. Be there to encourage them along their journey while accepting and celebrating them for whom they choose to become.
Parents often joke that kids should come with a manual. But given how different children are, a generic parenting manual wouldn’t be very useful. It’s better to embrace universal parenting strategies like those above and tailor them to your child’s unique needs and personality. In that way, you can give your kiddo their best chance to flourish.