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Parents Of Successful Kids Do These 10 Things In Common, Science Finds

Parents Of Successful Kids Do These 10 Things In Common, Science Finds

Every parent wants their kids to be successful. It is the purest wish a parent can have. Making this wish a reality is an entirely different matter.

So what ensures a child’s success? Are some kids genetically predisposed to do better than others or are the parents completely on the hook for ensuring their children achieve their goals? It’s the old nature versus nurture debate–which has been raging since the beginning of time.

Regardless to your inclination on the subject or which side of the debate you find yourself –there is no denying that successful parenting plays a major role in producing stellar kids. Parenting that is ineffective–regardless to the natural intellect and aptitude of a child–can result in behavior issues, delinquency, criminality and academic problems. Good parenting is an essential requirement for producing high achieving children.

What Successful parenting looks like

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    There is no set recipe for raising kids. Psychologists have found a few common threads of successful parenting:

    1. Kids are assigned regular chores

    Research shows that when children are given chores at an early age it cultivates in them a sense of responsibility, self-reliance and mastery.

    At a Ted Talk event, Julie Lythcott-Haims, former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford University and author of “How to Raise an Adult”  conveyed the idea that kids raised on chores go on to be collaborative coworkers, more empathetic– as they truly understand and have endured struggles. They also are able to work on tasks with minimal hand-holding.

    When using chores to build your child’s character, researchers caution that chores and allowance be kept separate. Studies show that external rewards can actually lower intrinsic motivation.

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    2. High expectations are established 

    Having realistically high expectations for kids is essential to successful parenting. More often than not, children rise to the expectations set for them. The trick is to set the bar high enough that your kids do have to stretch for it but keeping it in the realm of possible.

    For example, kids who have parents that expect them to go to college–usually do. Parents manage the child in a way that nurtures academic achievement while their kids work to maintain good grades so they can go to college. Establishing realistically high expectations points your children in the direction of success.

    3. Good coping skills are developed

    Children have to be taught to manage anger, delay gratification and properly handle conflict in order to achieve success. A lack of healthy coping strategies can lead to health and well-being concerns in children.

    4. Children are given room to fail

    A parent’s job is to manage and minimize risk–not to eliminate it. Successful parenting involves understanding that failure is a big part of success. And while this may sound counter-intuitive, research shows that more is gleaned from failure than success. Hanging back and giving children room to fail is very difficult for most parents but is essential. Successful failures assist in developing your child’s character, resilience and overall competence.

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    5. Social skills are developed

    In today’s world, social intelligence is just as important as intellect. A study spanning 20 years and involving the tracking of 700 kids found that those that are socially competent were more likely to earn a college degree and have a full time job by the time they turned 25.

    Successful parenting ensures that kids learn to be cooperative in their peer-to-peer relationships, helpful and able to empathize with others intuitively and without prompting.

    6. Quality time is spent early in a child’s development

    The number of hours moms spend with kids between ages 3 and 11 does little to predict the child’s behavior, well-being, or achievement. It’s the quality of the time spent that counts. “Helicopter” or “Tiger” parenting is not the intended approach. Parents should work to keep the environment and interactions engaging and stimulating but not stressful.

    7. Developing tenacity and “grit” in children

    Encouraging kids to stick with things that are difficult or unpleasant sets them up for success later in life. Mental toughness and a “can do” attitude are critical for children to have firmly in place well before reaching adulthood. A child without a “fighting spirit” is unlikely to develop this trait later in life and commitment and the ability to handle sustained effort long term will always be an issue.

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    8. Assist children in developing a strong sense of self

    This is done by establishing balance as a parent. Over-parenting hinders a child’s  development of independence and permissive parenting robs kids of integrity, direction and the ability to focus and commit. Children need to be able to identify their own strengths, weakness, preferences and dislikes.

    9. Parent with the end in mind

    Most people parent with the mindset of dealing with the current situation and getting it under control as soon as possible; seeking the quickest solution. Successful parenting keeps in mind how we want our child to be as an adult, we should strive to be more thoughtful in the way we parent. Try to pause and capitalize on some of those small teachable moments that present themselves daily remembering that the best way to teach certain behaviors is by modeling them.

    10. Practice the three “F’s” of successful parenting: Firm, Fair and Friendly

    Consequences for unwanted behavior should be clearly stated and should be suited to the unwanted behavior or the punishment should fit the crime. Harsh punishments are unnecessary especially coupled with the other techniques mentioned previously. Even though the child has misbehaved keep the tone of the communication firm yet friendly and open.

    Successful children turn into successful adults and neither happens by accident. Successful parenting is deliberate and intentional.

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    Denise Hill

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    Published on February 11, 2021

    3 Positive Discipline Strategies That Are Best For Your Child

    3 Positive Discipline Strategies That Are Best For Your Child

    I’m old enough to remember how the cane at school was used for punishment. My dad is old enough to think that banning corporal punishment in schools resulted in today’s poorly disciplined youth. With all of this as my early experiences, there was a time when I would have been better assigned to write about how to negatively discipline your child.

    What changed? Thankfully, my wife showed me different approaches for discipline that were very positive. Plus, I was open to learning.

    What has not changed is that kids are full of problems with impulses and emotions that flip from sad to happy, then angry in a moment. Though we’re not that different as adults with stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, and stimulants such as sugar and caffeine in our diets.

    Punishment as Discipline?

    What this means is that we usually take the easy path when a child misbehaves and punish them. Punishment may solve an isolated problem, but it’s not really teaching the kids anything useful in the long term.

    Probably it’s time for me to be clear about what I mean by punishment and discipline as these terms are often used interchangeably, but they are quite different.

    Discipline VS. Punishment

    Punishment is where we inflict pain or suffering on our child as a penalty. Discipline means to teach. They’re quite the opposite, but you’ll notice that teachers, parents, and coaches often confuse the two words.

    So, as parents, we have to have clear goals to teach our kids. It’s a long-term plan—using strategies that will have the longest-lasting impact on our kids are the best use of our time and energy.

    If you’re clear about what you want to achieve, then it becomes easier to find the best strategy. The better we are at responding when our kids misbehave or do not follow our guidance, the better the results are going to be.

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    3 Positive Discipline Strategies for Your Child

    Stay with me as I appreciate that a lot of people who read these blogs do not always have children with impulse control. We’ve had a lot of kids in our martial arts classes that were the complete opposite. They had concentration issues, hyperactive, and disruptive to the other children.

    The easy solution is to punish their parents by removing the kids from the class or punish the child with penalties such as time outs and burpees. Yes, it was tempting to do all of this, but one of our club values is that we pull you up rather than push you down.

    This means it’s a long-term gain to build trust and confidence, which is destroyed by constant punishments.

    Here are the discipline strategies we used to build trust and confidence with these hyperactive kids.

    1. Patience

    The first positive discipline strategy is to simply be patient. The more patient you are, the more likely you are to get results. Remember I said that we need to build trust and connection. You’ll get further with this goal using patience.

    As a coach, sometimes I was not the best person for this role, but we had other coaches in the club that could step in here. As a parent, you may not have this luxury, so it’s really important to recognize any improvements that you see and celebrate them.

    2. Redirection

    The second strategy we use is redirection. It’s important with a redirection to take “no” out of the equation. Choices are a great alternative.

    Imagine a scenario where you’re in a restaurant and your kid is wailing. The hard part here is getting your child to stop screaming long enough for you to build a connection. Most parents have calming strategies and if you practice them with your child, they are more likely to be effective.

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    In the first moment of calm, you can say “Your choice to scream and cry in public is not a good one. It would be best to say, Dad. What can I do to get ice-cream?” You can replace this with an appropriate option.

    The challenge with being calm and redirecting is that we need to be clear-minded, focused, and really engaged at the moment. If you’re on your phone, talking with friends or family, thinking about work or the bills, you’ll miss this opportunity to discipline in a way that has long-term benefits.

    3. Repair and Ground Rules

    The third positive discipline strategy is to repair and use ground rules. Once you’ve given the better option and it has been taken, you have a chance to repair this behavior to lessen its occurrence to better yet, prevent it from happening again. And by setting appropriate ground rules, you can make this a long-term win by helping your child improve their behavior.

    It’s these ground rules that help you correct the poor choices of your child and direct the behavior that you want to see.

    Consequences Versus Ultimatums

    When I was a child and being punished. My parents worked in a busy business for long hours, so their default was to go to ultimatums. “Do that again and you’re grounded for a week,” or “If I catch you doing X, you’ll go to bed without dinner”.

    Looking back, this worked to a point. But the flip side is that I remembered more of the ultimatums than the happier times. I’ve learned through trial and error with my own kids that consequences are more effective while not breaking down trust.

    What to Do When Ground Rules Get Broken?

    It’s on the consequences that you use when the ground rules are broken.

    In the martial arts class, when the hyperactive student breaks the ground rules. They would miss a turn in a game or go to the back of the line in a queue. We do not want to shame the child by isolating them. But on the flip side, there should be clear ground rules and proportionate consequences.

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    Yes, there are times when we would like to exclude the student from the class, the club, and even the universe. Again, it’s here that patience is so important and probably impulse control too. With an attainable consequence, you can maintain trust and you’re more likely to get the long-term behavior that you’re looking to achieve.

    Interestingly, we would occasionally hear a strategy from parents that little Kevin has been misbehaving at home with his sister or something similar. He likes martial arts training, so the parent would react by removing Kevin from the martial arts class as a punishment.

    We would suggest that this would remove Kevin from an environment where he is behaving positively. Removing him from this is likely to be detrimental to the change you would like to see. He may even feel shame when he returns to the class and loses all the progress he’s made.

    Alternatives to Punishment

    Another option is to tell Kevin to write a letter to his sister, apologizing for his behavior, and explaining how he is going to behave in the future.

    If your child is too young to write, give the apology face to face. For the apology to feel sincere, there is some value to pre-framing or practicing this between yourself and your child before they give it to the intended person.

    Don’t expect them to know the ground rules or what you’re thinking! It will be clearer to your child and better received with some practice. You can practice along the lines of: “X is the behavior I did, Y is what I should have done, and Z is my promise to you for how I’m going to act in the future.” You can replace XYZ with the appropriate actions.

    It does not need to be a letter or in person, it can even be a video. But there has to be an intention to repair the broken ground rule. If you try these strategies, that is become fully engaged with them and you’re still getting nowhere.

    But what to do if these strategies do not work? Then there is plenty to gain by seeking the help of an expert. Chances are that something is interfering or limiting their development.

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    This does not mean that your child has a neurological deficiency, although this may be the root cause. But it means that you can get an objective view and help on how to create the changes that you would like to see. Remember that using positive discipline strategies is better than mere punishment.

    There are groups that you can chat with for help. Family Lives UK has the aim of ensuring that all parents have somewhere to turn before they reached a crisis point. The NSPCC also provides a useful guide to positive parenting that you can download.[1]

    Bottom Line

    So, there your go, the three takeaways on strategies you can use for positively disciplining your child. The first one is about you! Be patient, be present, and think about what is best for the long term. AKA, avoid ultimatums and punishment. The second is to use a redirect, then repair and repeat (ground rules) as your 3-step method of discipline.

    Using these positive discipline strategies require you to be fully engaged with your child. Again, being impulsive breaks trust and you lose some of the gains you’ve both worked hard to achieve.

    Lastly, consequences are better than punishment. Plus, avoid shaming, especially in public at all costs.

    I hope this blog has been useful, and remember that you should be more focused on repairing bad behavior because being proactive and encouraging good behavior with rewards, fun, and positive emotions takes less effort than repairing the bad.

    More Tips on How To Discipline Your Child

    Featured photo credit: Leo Rivas via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] NSPCC Learning: Positive parenting

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