How to Set Your Child Up for Success
How to Set Your Child Up for Success
It starts with you.
There is no manual or how-to on being a perfect parent. So you might find yourself questioning whether your decisions are beneficial or detrimental to your children and their growth and development. Today, we are talking about what healthy parenting looks like and how that helps them in their journey to happiness and success.
Take care of yourself in order to take care of them.
Newsflash: parenting doesn’t start with the kids - it starts with you. Consider the helpful tip heard on every flight safety video before takeoff: put the mask on yourself before helping those around you. The same thing goes for parenting.
As a parent, self-care should always be a priority. Whether it be taking a vacation away from the kids, diving into a project at work, or spending time with friends, doing what makes you feel whole will always translate to being a better, more present parent. Work on yourself -- your kids will always appreciate having a happy, healthy parent.
Don’t lose your identity as a person.
Becoming a parent should never mean losing your identity. Being a parent is simply a PART of who you are, not entirely who you are. Every person has a career, friends, passions, and hobbies before becoming parents. These important details that make a person who they are should never be lost.
Many parents consider it a sort of “badge of honor” to sacrifice their lives for the sake of their kids, but being your own person and having a life outside of your child is so important. If you're not living your own life, you may start relying on your child to become your companion or make you feel whole & complete. This type of attachment is not healthy for your children, and frankly, unhealthy for all other relationships that it causes you to neglect.
Let your child see you in a different light and respect you as an individual. Then if your child decides to be like mom or dad when they grow it, that simply means you allowed them to see what makes you special and unique as a person.
Don’t make your kids your project.
One thing that should never appear on your list of parenting goals: controlling your child's entire life. They aren’t your project that you should impose upon as you may end up hindering their development as free-thinking, independent people.
Making children your project can lead to resentment in the future. If you happen to control their lives and things go south, they can blame you when things go wrong. This can also seriously affect their happiness. While guiding children in the right direction is suggested, there’s always a fine line between “guiding” and “controlling.”
For the sake of your relationship and their happiness, never make your kids your personal project.
Teach them to be independent.
This is a very important one: give your kids the tools they need to be independent individuals. While some parents thrive off the feeling of being needed at all times, the reality is, this isn’t setting them up to become independent. You want to raise your kids to be strong and able to fight their own battles.
Part of teaching your kids to be independent is letting them deal with life’s challenges on their own. It’s crucial to show them how to tolerate frustration and disappointment, knowing that parents won’t always be there to solve everything for them. This will inevitably lead them to make their own decisions and - sometimes - mistakes. If they aren’t given this freedom, they may not have the toolset to make appropriate independent decisions as adults. Seeing kids taking the initiative to make their own decisions is a great sign; it means they’re developing their own sense of identity.
Let kids “satellite”.
As children get older, they will inevitably satellite. This means they’ll leave home and come back, time and time again. The older they get, the broader the satellite becomes and the further they wander.
When children reach the point of being self-reliant, they’ll usually venture off at some point or another, but will eventually want to come back home. Kids are more likely to want to come back when they don’t feel smothered and restricted. Children have wings -- let them fly. They’ll make their way back to the nest.
Be as consistent as possible.
Consistency is key. Along the road of parenthood, there may be ups and downs, but kids need parents that are stable and present. Not giving children the consistency they need can lead to feelings of unhappiness and resentment. Keeping your relationship with them as solid as possible makes them feel happy and loved.
Remember: you’ll always be someone’s mother or father, but not always a parent.
Should you need some help along the way, PSYCHe is always here to help. We specialize in adolescent and family therapy, we will listen, assess, and come up with a plan to get your family back on the right track and out of therapy.