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Raised To Lead

It's hard to lead your family to success when you don't have enough food on the table. If you need food assistance, visit the Walworth County Food and Diaper Bank or donate now if you have support to spare. What does it take to raise happy, successful kids?

Love, safety, and stability are the foundation of any great upbringing, but that's not all that children need to emerge as future leaders. If you want to raise children who are not only self-sufficient, but motivated to make a difference in the world, follow these four parenting tips. Emphasize these four character traits.

Emphasize these four character traits

Every parent wants to raise a child who is responsible, courteous, and honest. However, if you want to raise a child who doesn't just follow the rules, but sets the standard, you have to go beyond the basics. Here are the character traits to instill in children today in order to raise the leaders of tomorrow.

● Courage is the ability to take action even when it's uncomfortable. While you might think it's an innate quality, courage is a mindset that parents can encourage from an early age.

● Vigilant people are always seeking self-improvement. Children learn vigilance when adults encourage them to reflect on their efforts and pursue personal bests.

● Openness is an important trait for anyone looking to influence others. The best way to teach openness is through modeling listening skills and compassion.

● Integrity is what keeps leaders honest and purpose-driven. Children develop integrity when parents instill a strong sense of values in the family. Foster self-reliance Often, parents have one idea of what success means and push their children to fit the mold. However, leaders don't stick to convention. The most successful children are the ones courageous enough to carve their own path. In order to raise children who take the lead, parents have to let go of the reins and encourage self-reliance.

● Let kids make decisions from an early age. Start with simple either-or choices and give children more decision-making power as they get older to foster a sense of agency.

● Be your child's consultant, not their manager. When children have the freedom to make their own decisions and learn from mistakes in a safe environment, they gain the skills they need to make smart choices as an adult.

● Monitor your own reactions to stress and disappointment. Parents who remain calm when children make mistakes encourage persistence and resilience rather than fear and avoidance.

Encourage creative thinking

There's more parents can do to encourage children to think outside of the box, from prioritizing mental wellness to fostering an active imagination. If you want to bring out the best in your child's mind, employ these parenting strategies.

● Make sure kids get enough sleep. A healthy sleep schedule is critical to kids' brain power. In addition to getting enough sleep per day, parents should establish a consistent sleep schedule for children.

● Pay attention to kids' media consumption. Screen time isn't necessarily the enemy, but it's important to choose content that stimulates childrens' development rather than encouraging them to tune out.

● Encourage pretend play. Pretending isn't just fun ‑ it's a child's brain at work. Pretend play is linked to greater creativity, problem-solving, and communication, so be sure to provide plenty of opportunities for imaginations to run wild.

● Teach the rewards of hard work. True innovators don't give up at the first obstacle. Picking up a hobby or sport is a great way to teach children the value of sustained effort.

Cultivate Communication skills

Self-reliance and creativity can take your child far, but it can't make him a leader. For that, kids need strong communication skills. Children with good communication skills are more likely to have healthy relationships, high self-esteem, and overall satisfaction in life as adults. Communication isn't only learned in school, however. Here's how parents can cultivate communication skills from an early age.

●     Use open-ended questions to practice conversation skills. Modeling interest and turn-taking helps children develop these important conversational skills themselves.

●     Teach active listening skills, including eye contact, waiting to respond, and asking questions to learn something new.

●     Encourage kids to replace “I don't know” with “I think.” Starting sentences this way helps shy kids feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts.

●     Practice storytelling with continuous stories. Creating a story together teaches the components of effective storytelling, a must-have skill for any leader.

Every parent wants the best for their kids, but sometimes, the skills that children need to learn most aren't the easiest to teach. While fostering creativity, communication, courage, and other leadership skills requires a special effort from parents, it pays off when you raise children who are ready and able to lead the way.