Tips in preparing your kids to greatness
Did you know there’s a wrong way to raise a strong child? Find out what it takes to prepare your child to be great in the outside world!
Well-intentioned parents just want to prepare their children for greatness, but many are going about it the wrong way. Professionals are already speaking out against overparenting or helicopter parenting, which involves hovering over one’s children to prevent them from failing. Ironically, it’s been linked to worsening school performance and making the children unemployable.
Does a better alternative exist – one that will help us raise #strongnotsheltered kids who will thrive when they encounter real world challenges? Here’s how to correctly prepare them for the future.
Start by establishing a strong foundation
It doesn’t matter how tall a tree is if a strong gust of wind will just make it fall. A good foundation will help children weather future storms, which will come whether they’re prepared or not.
The key is to begin with values. Being a role model is the best way to teach goodness, patience, humility, courage, and all the other virtues because children imitate what they see. Real life situations provide the perfect teachable moments so bring them with you when you do your errands or meet up with your friends. When a child is rooted in goodness, then great fruits such as strength of character will follow.
Resilience is one value that’ll help your child overcome setbacks. Instead of always putting on a brave face, allow your children to see you struggle. Irma Aure, 41, HR leader of a multi-national company’s operations here in the Philippines and mom of 2 shares, “Show them how you deal with disappointments and come out stronger.” Seeing you handle difficult experiences with grace and fortitude will help them deal with their own challenges in the future like failing to make the team or not passing a job interview.
Enrolling your child in a school or class with a good values education curriculum is also a good way to reinforce these lessons. Same-age friends who are taught the same values can positively influence each other and discourage offensive or errant behavior. The role of friends become even more important when they become teenagers so take the time to get to know who belongs to your child’s barkada (group of friends).
What else you can do to establish a strong foundation, on the next page.
Good habits, routines and chores allow them to practice
Another way to build a solid foundation is to develop good habits. Correcting a bad habit is a lot harder than starting a good one. Even good habits that seem simple, such as eating breakfast, drinking milk, and flossing, will contribute greatly to their total well-being.
Build these tasks into a routine and require your children to finish everything on the list first before allowing them to play. If you’re consistent, they will know what they need to do - even or especially when you’re not there to nag. It’s a good way to practice for a time when they no longer live with you!
Some of these tasks should also include chores, which teach responsibility. “My mom made us wake up on our own and we had chores to complete like making our beds and sweeping the room before going to school,” Lynette Rivera, 29, shares. It’s a tradition she has passed on to her own daughter because she realized how consistent practice made it second nature. Doing the little things well helped her succeed in greater things.
Allow them to fix their own mistakes
Dealing with mistakes is another vital skill. Allowing them to fix their own mistakes first assumes that they are allowed to make mistakes. The popular Montessori method teaches young students practical skills like how to pour themselves a drink. The same lesson includes teaching them how to use a rag to wipe any spills. If someone else always cleans up after a child, when will he learn to clean up after his own mistakes?
In the beginning, it may be as simple as wiping paint off a table but it will eventually apply to the quality of work they do and their relationships with others. Expect them to re-do homework that’s low quality or apologize for hurting a sibling. This will teach them not to resent teachers and mentors who correct their mistakes and to own up when a business doesn’t perform very well.
Continue on to the next page for what else you can provide to raise a strong child.
Be supportive and watch your child bloom
Psychologists have observed a phenomenon called the Pygmalion effect. Regardless of abilities, random children who hear that they are expected to perform well because they are “gifted” really do better. Many times, it just takes someone who helps them believe in themselves.
Vincent Padilla, 39, artist painter and instructor at the College of St. Benilde, says, “Just support.” His daughter had her own solo recital at the age of 12 and can already play 7 different instruments. Far from being just ‘extra’ activities, music, arts, and sports help children believe in themselves and teach them the value of hard work, discipline and cooperation. LinkedIn recently published an article that praises the work ethic of former athletes.
Conversely, when children feel threatened, they attract trouble. Psychologist Ma. Lourdes Carandang has observed how parents with the best intentions might be inadvertently bullying their own children. This finding reinforces that there is a correct way to raise strong kids, one that emphasizes the goodness of a child instead of what’s lacking.
Another result of providing a safe environment at home is to encourage our children to approach us when they encounter difficult issues or roadblocks. Remember, the goal isn’t to be the one to solve their problems but to point them toward the right direction.
Daphne Uy, 31, shares that her mom always made her feel loved and accepted. “As punishment for being too talkative in class, my teacher sent me home with a note that a parent had to sign. I was so scared that my mom would scold me, but she just signed it and told me that she wasn't a perfect student either. It cemented our relationship.” A good and trusting relationship with you will make it easier for your child to accept your guidance especially when problems become more complicated.
Support also comes in the form of proper nutrition
All of these won’t be possible if your child doesn’t receive proper nutrition. This provides the sustenance that will fuel the body’s growth and development, as well as all the other physical and mental activities that need to be accomplished. Inadequate nutrition may lead to stunted growth while a child who lacks energy won’t be able to maximize all the learning opportunities.
After your baby has weaned from breast milk, giving your child a glass of whole milk daily is a SMART nutritional goal: Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based. Milk is a great source of calcium, protein and many essential vitamins. Plus, its creamy taste makes it easy for kids to like, making it an important part of a child’s diet.
Having said that, parents should check the ingredients list of milk products because some contain high sugars and hydrogenated vegetable oil which is more difficult to process in our body compared to natural fats. If it’s just milk, then it’s all natural goodness. Look for ‘whole milk’ as the first and major ingredient on the list.
Goodness feeds greatness
You’ll notice that raising a strong child doesn’t involve the latest educational toys nor living in an expensive subdivision. As this Anchor ad puts it, “(A parent’s) job is to make sure you have the strength to always pick yourself up.” That strength will come from the foundation of goodness that you’ve established in your child.
If you instill good values, habits and skills and provide the right kind of support, you’ll raise a child with the strength to be great in the outside world. So whether your child was born to be great, achieve great things or have greatness thrust upon him, remember these parenting practices… because it’s the goodness inside that will feed his greatness!