We pray every morning that our kids will experience health and wholeness in all facets of their life—mental, emotional, spiritual, physical. Every parent wants to raise children that go on to be successful at whatever they do. Research shows that the habits and characteristics for success are most easily learned in childhood.
Once poor beliefs and habits are established, they’re tough to extinguish. Anyone that’s tried to lose weight knows what this feels like. Changing your eating habits is a tough one to break!
We’ve found the best thing parents can do is to bring their kids into their own successes and failures. Personal stories from the past are the ammunition we need to prepare our kids for success in the future.
We’ve comprised a list below of things we parents can teach our kids that will prop them up for success in life. We’re no experts—we’re in this parenting thing along with you—but we compiled the following list to give us all something to shoot for.
Use these strategies to help your children learn how to succeed:
- Teach them to be a finishers. Many adults would be much more successful if they could just finish what they start. Too many people put in a lot of time and effort, only to quit before the job is complete or the goal is attained. This is nothing more than a bad habit.
- Teach them to do what needs to be done and to do it in a timely manner. This is the opposite of procrastination. This means studying for a test plenty of time before the test is given. It means doing homework before playing video games. Ask your kid what they need to do and then make them do it.
- Teach them to be okay with failure. Most children are overly sensitive about being judged by their peers. Children are often afraid to try anything unless they feel certain they’ll experience success. But failure is okay and natural, and when they see us handle it with grace they will do the same. Don’t forget to reward your child for effort, especially when trying something new.
- Keep them physically active. Active children sleep better, are healthier, and even do better at math. Successful people are more likely to be healthy and physically active. Tell your child to turn off the TV and go outside to play (easier said than done!).
- Love them. This is a biggy. A loved child is a braver child. Children that are confident that their parents love them are more likely to take risks. We could all use more confidence! Ensure that your child is 100% confident of your love for them.
- Teach them to persevere. This might be the greatest characteristic you can instill in your child. We all know someone that is marginally intelligent, skilled, and talented, yet always seems to succeed. Those that persevere are successful far more often than not when the smoke clears.
- Set a good example. This last tip is critical. Your kid is always watching you for clues of what to believe and how to act. You can’t act one way and expect your child to act another, regardless of your words. Show your child how to be successful by being successful yourself. Exhibit the traits listed above.
Success is little more than a consistently followed set of behaviors and attitudes that are effective in our society.
Avoid forcing your child to figure out for themselves how to succeed in the world. Share your wisdom with them, and ensure they know how much you love them. Do your best to be a good example of how a successful person faces the world.
In the end, it’s not about material success—it’s about relational success, specifically a thriving relationship with the Lord. Above all the other facets of a successful life, thriving spiritually is something that’s more caught more than taught. So let’s live the life we want our kids to live and love the way we want them to love, and in the end we can trust God to get them right where He wants them to be.