It has become a common idea that failure is good for children and builds resilience. But when children fail over and over again and don’t have the support to keep trying, all they learn is that they are failures. Resilience doesn’t come from failing, but from the experience of learning that you can pick yourself up, try again, and succeed. That requires at least some experience of success and a lot of emotional support.
So it is true that we all learn from overcoming challenges, but we also learn best when we experience success, which motivates us to face more difficult challenges. Mastery begets mastery. Failure sets up a cycle of lack of confidence, surrender, and more failure.
Parents will always want the best in life for their children. New parents may be especially concerned with trying to foster the perfect environment for their children’s development. If nurturing is more essential than nature, surely affection will help you shape your child’s future, right?
It is a bit more complex than that. For starters, there is more to a good future than getting good grades in school. Parents should also take into account things like social skills, athletic ability, and other similar factors.
Here are 12 ways to improve a child’s future
Believe it or not, most of the methods you can use to help your child have a brighter tomorrow start with you and come from you.
1. Build a connection
When your children know that you want them to be connected and feel connected to you, they will be ready to seek your help when they need it. This council agrees with the chairman of the Washington State Board of Health Care, Behavioral Health Executive, and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Blake Griffin Edwards.
To establish and build such a positive connection, you must:
- Prioritize open and direct communication and conversations
- Be generous in spreading affirmations and encouragement
- Show a genuine interest in your child’s interests
- Listen to your children when they speak
- Open up to their perspectives and insights
- Present yourself as reasonable and caring
- Remind them that you love them both with words and actions
- Be slow to react to misbehavior and mistakes
2. Teach healthy habits
Learning to set healthy limits, both emotional and physical, and taking care of yourself are essential life skills that children must learn. It may seem like a no-brainer to us as adults, but in reality, children need to be taught to:
- Plan and prepare healthy meals
- Encourage positive thinking in both yourself and others
- Create and run a regular exercise routine
- Address your thoughts and feelings in a healthy and loving way
- Be attentive and grateful for the little things in life
3. Set high expectations
Setting unbelievably high expectations is always unhealthy and painful for any child, but it doesn’t mean you have to slack off either, Edwards says. Research has shown a positive link between a child’s long-term academic performance and parental expectations. You can do it yourself as follows:
- Share your convictions, but be willing to compromise and be flexible about it
- Discuss your expectations openly and honestly with your children
- Share your thought processes on the academic topic
- Keep an open mind
- Negotiate and reach agreements as needed
- Remember that your wishes and goals will be different than yours, and that’s okay
- Help them and support them where you can
4. Let the children do homework
With how much a child has to do to stay afloat academically, it’s tempting to let him skip the chore of doing housework so he can finally take a break. However, professionals have shown that this attempt to care for them is a mistake. Here’s what housework does for a growing child:
- Teaches them responsibility
- Encourages them to value hard work
- They learn to clean what they make dirty
- They learn to collaborate well with others to ease workloads and complete tasks
- Finally, they understand and internalize the importance of contributing to a mission for the good of all.
5. Offer effective praise
It’s easy to think that praising your kids is enough, but it’s not enough. Research has shown that positive thinking and a growth mindset should be fostered by praise that applauds a child for her efforts and hard work, not for her innate qualities. This is because praising a child for her inherent qualities (such as being smart or talented) encourages:
- Fixed mindsets
- Fear to fail
- The belief that your self-esteem is based on being good at something
- Avoidance of any task that cannot guarantee success on the first attempt
- Inability to learn problem solving skills.
It is preferable that the child earns accolades that acknowledge her struggles and celebrate her attempt regardless of the end result. This teaches the child to focus and put value on trying and learning, rather than simply the result of success.
6. Teach children to promote relationships
Humanity was never meant to be alone. Our need to connect and bond with others is a factor built into our DNA. As a result, it is crucial that parents teach their children to build strong and healthy relationships because:
- Strong relationships are crucial to one’s emotional and mental growth
- Healthy relationships have a positive effect on psychological well-being
- Kids who don’t have close, meaningful relationships are more likely to get into legal trouble
- There is a strong link between a lack of strong ties and the development of psychiatric problems
- Academic performance results are often worse for children who do not have strong relationships
To avoid these problems, take the time to teach your children conflict resolution and emotion management skills. Strive to provide every opportunity for them to bond with their peers by encouraging participation in activities and communities they enjoy.
7. Manage your own emotions
Nobody lives in a vacuum, least of all your children. Everyone is affected by each other in some way, shape or form, regardless of intention. And it’s backed by science too! Research shows that a child’s ability to regulate and express their own emotions is affected by their parents’ emotional and relationship status and their ability to manage their own feelings.
In other words:
- Your child’s emotional well-being depends on her well-being
- Your stress often ends up affecting your children as well
- Problems in your relationships or the unstable state of your emotions do not go unnoticed by your children
As such, it is best to first learn how to manage your own mental and emotional health to the best of your ability. Otherwise, you may be leaving a more significant negative impact on your children than you think.
8. Teach the consequences, not the punishment
It is a fairly easy parenting technique. If a child misbehaves, simply salute about the threat of punishment, and if it continues, keep your word. That way, they will learn that actions have consequences, right?
This is not the case. In fact, research shows that punishment hinders a child’s future. This is why:
- It does not amount to consequences, especially in the real world
- Often creates a rebellious child who gets creative to circumvent prohibitions and punishments
- Teach children that an acceptable way to solve problems is through threats
- Often it does not teach the child anything essential or valuable.
On the contrary, taking the time to show how cause and effect works helps to:
- Teach a child what the real consequences are
- It instills in them a strong sense of self-motivation
- It allows them to understand and grow
- Model effective ways to solve problems
- Increase their self-confidence
9. Let kids follow passions
In our day, society exerts enormous pressure for both children and adults to act. This often leaves no room for loves or passions, which can be daunting and suffocating for your child. As you can imagine, this scenario is not ideal for the mental well-being of anyone, both children and adults.
Here are some simple ways that you can encourage your kids to pursue the things they love:
- Let them enjoy what they are doing, without giving them unwanted criticism or comments
- Pay attention when they share information about their latest hobby or interest
- Try to participate in their interests or hobbies
- Encourage their efforts with words, actions, and gifts
- Understand that they may not be able to earn a living from it; some things, after all, are simply for personal enjoyment and fun
- Highlight the things your child likes, not just what needs improvement
10. Teach perseverance (essential for a child’s future success!)
The ability and passion to keep striving for long-term goals are not innate, they are taught. Also called “courage”, it was discovered by a psychologist as essential for anyone who wants to achieve their goals and be successful. Here’s a bit more elaboration on the topic:
- The ability to persevere is necessary if you want to achieve long-term goals and dreams
- This can be cultivated in your children by encouraging them to practice and find purpose in their passions
- Introduce your children to things that they can become familiar with, but can continually learn for years to come
11. Configure family routines
There is something comforting in a routine spent with your loved ones. It can be a bit of a hassle to set it up, especially if everyone has different hours, as is often the case if you have a full-time job while your kids are busy with school and friends. However, the results are worth it because:
- Study shows it results in better social-emotional health in preschool children
- Make time for you and the children to bond with each other
- You have the opportunity to catch up on the lives of your children
- Both the child and the parent can share and review how an event unfolded and what could have been done better
- Helps to promote social skills among children.
12. Provides unconditional love
It is incredibly essential that your children know that you love them unconditionally, without question. This not only teaches them what unconditional love feels like, but it also creates a rock-solid foundation that they can lean on during tough days. Here are some ways to show your love and support:
- Understand what their love languages are, so that you can give and receive love in a way that genuinely connects with them
- Reassure them regularly, both in words and in deeds
- Always shower them in love, regardless of how circumstances and expectations change
- Let them know that you will be there for them, no matter what they do
Final reflections on some ways to improve your child’s future
When you love a child, you are already helping their future. You are giving them the support and compassion they need to move on. As a parent, you challenge and motivate your child and, as a parent, you shower him with love and affection. Adopting these habits will help ensure your child’s future success!