Don’t tell them they can be anything they want
According to a research study carried out by market research agency C+R Research, kids in America are less interested in doing the hard work required to be successful later in life. They surveyed 400 teenagers, and found that kids instead aspire to be musicians, athletes, or video game designers, even though only 1 percent of the population ever carry out these roles.
The reality is that jobs in healthcare or construction are becoming increasingly important, and computer science is becoming a much-needed knowledge base across all sectors of the economy.
The classic Marshmallow Experiment of 1972 involved placing a marshmallow in front of a young child, with the promise of a second marshmallow if he or she could refrain from eating the squishy blob while a researcher stepped out of the room for 15 minutes. Follow-up studies over the next 40 years found that the children who were able to resist the temptation to eat the marshmallow grew up to be people with better social skills, higher test scores, and a lower incidence of substance abuse. They also turned out to be less obese and better able to deal with stress. To help kids build this skill, train them to have habits that must be accomplished every day–even when they don’t feel like doing them.
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.
They teach their kids social skills
Researchers from Pennsylvania State University and Duke University tracked more than 700 children from across the US between kindergarten and age 25 and found a significant correlation between their social skills as kindergartners and their success as adults two decades later.
The 20-year study showed that socially competent children who could cooperate with their peers without prompting, be helpful to others, understand their feelings, and resolve problems on their own, were far more likely to earn a college degree and have a full-time job by age 25 than those with limited social skills.
Those with limited social skills also had a higher chance of getting arrested, binge drinking, and applying for public housing.
“This study shows that helping children develop social and emotional skills is one of the most important things we can do to prepare them for a healthy future,” said Kristin Schubert, program director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funded the research, in a release.
“From an early age, these skills can determine whether a child goes to college or prison, and whether they end up employed or addicted.”
Eating Meals Together As A Family
According to Dr. Anne K. Fishel, the co-founder of the non-profit organization called The Family Dinner Project, clinical psychologist, and associate clinical professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, eating dinner together more often is important.
Kids who often eat with their families at least five days a week exhibit lower levels of substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, obesity, and depression. For over the past 20 years, researchers have confirmed that sharing a meal with family is good for the spirit, the brain, and the family’s overall health.
Also, the non-profit organization said that kids who eat together with their families have higher grade-point averages, better vocabularies, and have higher self-esteem.
LET THEM PRACTICE DECISION MAKING
As parents, we want to protect our children, but controlling or helicopter parenting can hinder rather than enhance a child’s development. Making sound decisions requires practice, which can only come from experiences.
Give children choices over non-safety and health-related things so they can start learning how to choose. Instead of forcing them to follow your advice, guide them. However, if they still want to do it their way, let them suffer the natural consequences. Experience is the most efficient way to learn to make good decisions. Autonomy also allows a child to gain self-trust and self-esteem.