Children are the future. As parents, you should inspire, motivate and shape your children into leaders. Whichever path they end up choosing for themselves, you should groom them to be authentic, brave and compassionate. Your children should serve as role models to their peers.
The nature vs. nurture argument is stronger than it has ever been, but it is undeniable that parents have a major role in shaping their children’s lives. As a parent, here are eight things you can do to make sure your children grow up to realize their fullest potential.
1. Work on your emotional intelligence.
A recent survey by TalentSmart found that emotional intelligence, also known as EQ is responsible for more than half of a leader’s effectiveness. The same survey also concluded that over 90% of highly successful leaders display high EQs.
As parents, it is your responsibility to work on your own EQ. your children grow up to absorb certain behavioral patterns from you. They are very perceptive about the way you conduct yourself emotionally. If you have a good EQ, your children will pick up on it and it will help them tremendously as they face the challenges of adult life.
2. Don’t pressure your kids about competition.
Keeping up with the Joneses creates several problems for kids. If you’re constantly nagging them about being better than their peers at things, it will give them the wrong idea about achievement. Children who are too focused on achievements chase them at the cost of their personal health and happiness because they’ve been brought up to believe being the best at something is the only way to gain love and respect.
The most successful leaders don’t fly solo. They surround themselves with talented people who can help them achieve their goal.
3. Don’t praise your kids too much.
While your kids need a lot of encouragement, they also need to understand how the real world works. If you’re constantly patting their back irrespective of their behavior, they will be in for a rude awakening once they step out into the real world.
4. Allow your children to experience failure.
It’s understandable if parents want to protect their children. But when they go to ridiculous lengths to shelter their children from any kind of danger or failure, they’re setting them up for problems down the line. Until your children understand what it feels like to take a risk and fail, they won’t develop the fortitude it takes to succeed in life.
5. Let them figure some things out for themselves.
Leaders are independent. They have the ability to deal with their own problems. When you’re in a leadership position, other people look up to you to make the tough calls. As a parent, make sure you sit back and let your children figure some things out for themselves. This will hone their critical thinking and decision making abilities.
6. Say no to them.
If you’re constantly giving in to your kid’s demands, you’re setting them up to be a spoiled brat. To be leaders, your children must understand that sometimes, things don’t happen when you want them to. Delaying gratification and working hard for your rewards is what it takes to be a leader in the real world. Let them experience the joy that comes from earning a treat rather than folding the second they make a sad face.
7. Don’t be afraid to show some vulnerability.
You are your children’s hero and role model. As such, it might be tempting for you to hide any weakness from your children. But in real life, admitting your vulnerabilities is an important quality for a leader to have. It conveys authenticity. Don’t be afraid to admit to your children that even you make some mistakes once in a while.
8. Practice what you preach.
One of the most important qualities that a leader possesses is that they live by the rules they prescribe to other people. Don’t tell your kids that they need to be respectful, and then disrespect someone in front of them. Your children need to understand that you are a person of integrity, even when things aren’t going your way.
To shape your children into leaders, you have to work on yourself. Your children are like sponges, assimilating and emulating your behavior. Use the list above to guide your decisions as a parent, so that your children can become leaders who accomplish great things in their lives.