As parents, we all hope that our kids will grow up to be happy, healthy, responsible adults, don’t we?
It’s important to make a conscious effort to encourage our children to develop independence and strong character early in their lives that enables them to navigate it successfully.
However, our job as parents is not to tell our children how to live their life. Our job is to encourage them to develop sufficient strength of character and provide them with the independence to figure it out for themselves.
Consider these top 10 tips:
- Lead by example. All children are strongly influenced by their parents’ example. Ensure that the example you set is worthy of following. You cannot expect them to learn and grow just from being told what they should do. You have to do it yourself. Kids always tend to do what you do and not just blindly follow what you say.
- Get your children out into nature. Let them see how the world works. Take them to the mountains, forests, rivers, lakes, and the ocean. Encourage them to have an interest in their natural environment and wildlife. Show them how food is grown and how it gets from the field to the table. Let them try growing some simple vegetables themselves to appreciate the time and energy that nature puts into food production.
- Give them as much interaction with animals as possible, especially those in the wild. Cultivate their interest in all living beings, their environment, and the fine balance of the ecosystem that supports them.
- Teach your children about negotiation and consequences. Use their daily routine as a platform. For example, if they have to do chores to earn a trip to the movies, discuss the consequences of not getting the chores done beforehand. Then, there will never be any surprises for them if things don’t work out. If you are consistent, your kids will soon come to you to negotiate with their terms and conditions, about everything that’s important for them. They can learn and understand value, truth, punctuality, and reward by applying the principles to regular household chores or pocket money.
- Encourage them to speak up about things that are important to them. Better yet, encourage them to think through an issue and write a statement expressing their opinion on the matter. Have them deliver that talk and practice with you before they address the intended recipient(s).
- Encourage them to question everything. We live in a world where profit, power, and control seem to dominate every topic and every world leaders’ agenda. Teach your children to think critically rather than just believing whatever they see or hear. If your child can develop the habit of receiving information, questioning it, forming their own opinion based on the facts presented, and then challenging the status quo, you will be well on the road to developing a young leader yourself! The world needs more critical thinkers.
- Teach them about peer pressure and how to resist it before they ever get subjected to the consequences of it. Just because a majority of individuals engage in the same thought or action, it doesn’t make it right. Likewise, if you stand alone against the majority, it doesn’t make you wrong. Resisting following the crowd for all the right reasons is a powerful learning process.
- Encourage them to explore everything that interests them, fascinates them, or causes an emotional reaction in them. Sadly, lacking in all school curriculums where the dominant methodology is to make all children dress the same, learn the same, and be the same.
The education system is designed to strip the uniqueness out of young people when what we need is more unique individuals in society, especially those who follow their passion, whether or not it may be on the school agenda.
- Ensure that they understand what social media is: a mild form of entertainment that has very little value in the real world. Explain where it came from, what it does, and how you can have fun with it, but ensure that they also know that what they see there usually isn’t reality.
- Engage them in some form of self-defense. The world seems to be becoming an ever more violent place. The chances of your child being in the wrong place at the wrong time is ten times greater now than when you were a child. They need to understand how to evaluate any given situation they may find themselves caught up in and how to remove themselves from it as rapidly as possible. They also need to learn what they can do if they are forced to engage with an assailant and remove themselves from that situation as rapidly as possible.
It’s the school’s job to teach your children about learning, and it’s your job as a parent to teach them about life. If you teach them well, they will grow up to be of strong character and become independent thinkers.
With that as a foundation, they can set out on their life journey with great confidence, courage, and inspiration to create a successful life that fulfills them and a future filled with hope and promise.