Having a child is easy. Raising a child is not. No job is more important, frustrating, or rewarding than raising a happy, confident, and successful child.
Raising happy, capable children is one part science and two parts art. No two children are exactly the same. Each child has his own strengths and weaknesses. Each child has a unique set of challenges. One child might be great at school but struggles socially, while another has plenty of friends but struggles to deal with his emotions.
So what’s a parent to do to Raising a Happy and Confident Child?
In spite of these individual differences, there are general principles that apply to us all. The tips in this guide will help you to instill habits and thought processes in your children that lead them toward a happy and fulfilling life.
It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. – Frederick Douglass
Decide What Happy, Confident, and Successful Mean to You
We all hold differing opinions on what success means. Keep in mind that success at one age doesn’t necessarily mean success at another age. You might be pleased with your 6-figure income, but a child would probably prefer to have a loving group of friends.
Still, a successful childhood will often translate into easier confidence, happiness, and success as an adult.
Consider the various parts of a child’s life:
‣ Family life
A child must also learn how to:
‣ Grow their emotional intelligence
‣ Set and achieve goals
‣ Make decisions
‣ Deal with fears and stress appropriately
‣ Show kindness
‣ Take responsibility for their actions
‣ Create good habits
As a parent, you have the most crucial role in teaching these skills to your child. Consider what you believe your children should know in order to thrive in each part of their life during childhood and beyond. Create your own list and use it to formulate your strategy.
Determine your responsibilities:
‣ Food, clothing, and shelter
Also consider where you’ll draw the line. Will you teach your child to stand up to a bully, instruct them to notify the teacher, or take matters into your own hands?
Some parents believe in taking control of every aspect of their child’s life, while others take an entirely hands-off approach. In the first case, if you do everything for your child, they may struggle to take care of themselves later in life. In the second, they’re likely to feel overwhelmed and fail to thrive.
Finding the right balance is important. This balance will depend on the individual child.
Know your child:
‣ Introvert vs. extrovert
‣ Emotional stability and strength
‣ Ability to focus
A highly intelligent and introverted child will require a different approach than a confident, extroverted child that struggles with school. A child may need limited assistance in some areas, while requiring extensive help in others. It’s also possible your child is so gifted in certain areas that they might be able to teach you a thing or two!
The choices you make as a parent can help or harm your child.
It’s important to define success, determine your responsibilities, and consider your child’s unique traits.
All children are born pure egoists. They perceive their needs to the exclusion of all others. Only through socialization do they learn that some forms of gratification must be deferred and others denied. – Andrew Vachss
Next Chapter: Emotional Intelligence