Seeing your child grow up to be a success is the ultimate goal of a great parent. But raising your child in a way that ensures they achieve that success is certainly not easy. It requires patience, perseverance, dedication, and the confidence that all of your efforts will be incredibly worth it when you finally see your children actualize their potential. If you want your children to succeed, you need to:

1. Teach them social skills

Although humans are naturally social beings, social conventions are not inherent and therefore must be taught. A study conducted by researchers at PSU and Duke University showed that children who showed the ability to cooperate with and help their peers, as well as understand their emotions and work out their own problems, were more likely to experience success as they grew into adults than children who did not exhibit these social skills. Children who were not taught skills such as cooperation and patience were also more likely to end up incarcerated or abusing drugs and alcohol.

2. Have high expectations

Children will rise to their parents’ level of expectations, so it’s important to set the bar high. A study by a UCLA professor of over 6,000 kindergartners showed that when parents believe their children will end up attending college, the children perform much higher on standardized tests than children whose parents are indifferent to higher education. An overwhelming 96% of children whose parents saw college in their future performed higher than the rest of the cohort.

3. Attain higher levels of education

Not only should parents have high expectations for their children, but they should also have high expectations for themselves. A study conducted at the University of Michigan found that children are most likely to attain the same level of education their parents have over the course of their lifetime. Unfortunately, this means that those who become pregnant as a teenager and do not pursue a college education, or do not complete their high school studies, are likely to raise children who end up dropping out as well. Parents who set the bar high for themselves will in turn have great expectations for their children as well.

4. Build a solid relationship with them

All of the previous points made throughout this article can only come about if parents foster a caring, nurturing relationship with their children. Doing so lays the foundation on which a successful life can be built. By building a solid relationship with their children, parents can begin teaching them the social and life skills needed to succeed. They can also maximize their children’s potential by setting high expectations early on to ensure their children get a head start in life. Finally, by being there to celebrate their children’s accomplishments, parents can instill in their children the notion that the reward for hard work is the successful feeling that comes over you after having reached a specific goal.

5. Be less stressed out

Parents who are constantly stressed, whether from work, school, or family life, will ultimately pass this stress along to their child. A decent amount of stress can be a healthy motivator, but too much stress can be incredibly detrimental to your health. “Helicopter parents” are those who are so stressed out about their children’s lives that they become much too overprotective; by doing so, they add stress to their children’s lives with every step they take. As a parent, you’ll undoubtedly face many stressful situations in your life. However, you must never allow your child to know just how close you are to your breaking point.

6. Value effort over innate talent

Pointing out your child’s gifts is natural for parents. Knowing your kid is an incredible musician or athlete should definitely make you proud. However, praising your child for a gift they were born with may actually be doing them a disservice. They may start to develop a fixed mindset, meaning they either believe they’re naturally good at something, or not good at all. On the other hand, praising a child’s effort when completing a specific task will nurture a growth mindset: the idea that they can become good at anything they put their all into. By cultivating a growth mindset in your children, you change their way of thinking from “I can’t do this!” to “I can’t do this…yet!”

Featured photo credit: Happy Family / David Amsler via farm8.staticflickr.com

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