Guide your child on their
path to success
Raising happy and healthy children has never been more challenging. This is the first generation where technology has always been the norm and a life before it existed is unknown. It is also the first generation of parents trying to understand and juggle a world where we are on 24/7.
Children have less sleep than ever before.
Children do less exercise than ever before.
Children struggle with more mental illnesses than ever before.
Children have never lived a life without technology.
I am not saying this as a scare tactic because I also believe children have the best opportunities than ever before. Helping your child find their path to success is such an amazing way to understand what is happening inside their brain. Most teenagers are not out of control, the secret is to understand how their mind works.
Before understanding how to guide them on their path to success, we need to understand how to cope with the daily ups & downs:
- Keep a daily diary. Each day write down a few words on how your child has handled the day, even if the day has been pretty uneventful. This allows both the child and parent to see problems are not always in our life. Even when teenage hormones are in full swing, it doesn’t make them ‘crazy’ every day, so by keeping a diary for at least a month, often patterns occur and this can be used as a way to show your child that nothing is constant.
- Determine what makes them genuinely happy. As challenging as parenting can be sometimes, the joy we feel when our children are genuinely happy is worth all the hard times. By watching your child’s behaviour throughout the week can help establish a pattern of what really makes them feel good about themselves and what doesn’t.
- It’s all about them! Children are naturally selfish, it’s just an underdeveloped brain and this results in them mainly caring about what affects them. When parents understand most children see life through the words ‘me me and me‘, it can alter the parents perspective of the child showing out of control selfish behaviour and turn it into a normal childish thinking.
- Take a little time every day to just be there. Forcing children to communicate when and where you want is like expecting a toddler to sit in front of a bowl of lollies and eat none. Children can sense when they are being forced into something and this is when they often shut down. Just letting your child know you are there if they want to talk is what they really need.
- Pick your battles. Unless you want to end up in a mental asylum, pick the battles you wish to fight. Work out what you are willing to let go and pretend never happened and what you hold as high priority, often it’s those that conflict our values.
The first step to helping guide your child on their path to success is to know that change is constant and certain. Today will be a little different from yesterday. It may not be a dramatic difference but knowing life is continually evolving can ease the burden of today.
The next step is to focus on what you can control and let go of what you can’t. All too often we try to control other people, especially our children but in reality, it is a battle that gets you nowhere. We can guide our children, we can make suggestions but the power of what your child chooses to do is ultimately in their hands. By focusing on what you control, you remove constant pressure on yourself to ‘fix’ any problems and make change happen quickly.
Understand that your child is the expert in their own life. This is where listening skills are vital. Learn to listen with judgment. Learn to listen without fear. Learn to listen to their words and not just hear your words. The best way to know if you have truly listened is to summarise what your child has said and wait for their response. If your words match theirs, you have great listening skills.
Another step to ask questions – powerful questions. Questions help us get out of any problems and start to look for the solutions. We can spend too much time analysing the problem but this doesn’t change the problem or current situation. Searching for a solution removes the need to over think the problem and gives the child their power.
Celebrate small successes. Even small changes bring improvement in life so celebrate them. Many children, especially teenagers have a belief that it is all or nothing. If we can alter that thinking and know a little move forward on their path to success often has a ripple effect.
The final way to guide your child on their path to success is to have their back – no matter what. Every child deserves to know someone in their life will never give up on them and will stay connected to them emotionally.