Every parent wants their children to grow into successful adults. The difficult part is figuring out HOW to foster this growth? How do we encourage our children to create their own success, both in childhood, and later in life?
Naturally, there are many different answers to this question, many of them valid. The one we we would like to focus on today is encouraging our kids to become innovators and independent thinkers.
It is easy to look at successful, creative and innovative adults and assume that they are gifted, or special. This is typically true, but what often gets overlooked is the role parenting can play in this. Innovative adults most likely had childhoods where innovation and creativity were both encouraged and nurtured.
One great way to do foster this growth is by supporting children in their early entrepreneurial efforts. Even if their ideas are goofy and unrealistic (and they often are!), encouraging children to take the initiative to start their own business or chase their dreams at an early age can pay dividends later in life, when they reach adulthood and their ideas are no longer goofy or unrealistic. This is true for your own children, but for other children as well. If you see some kids running a bake sale or lemonade stand, try to help out! It may not be the best price, or the best quality, but it’s certainly worth it. Supporting ideas in childhood can keep kids motivated and guide them down a path towards success!
Another thing you can do for your kids is encourage them to harness technology. These days, when you hear of people in their late teens and early twenties starting success companies, it is almost always within a high tech industry. While previous generations may have had lemonade stands on the corner of the street, kids these days can have a figurative lemonade stand in virtual space! We are a connected, technologically dependent society and are increasingly trending further in that direction. Encouraging kids to get a leg up in this field can be fun for them in the short term, and beneficial in the long term.
It is important to set and enforce rules for our kids, but remember, you are a parent, not a drill sergeant! Be sure to praise your children when they work hard, even when they have not been successful. The feedback we give as parents impacts the way children believe in their own abilities. By encouraging hard work, children learn to recognize that they have the power to change and develop through hard work and practice. Studies have shown that informing a child she “must be really smart” is less effective than telling the same child she must have worked really hard, even when assessing the same quality of work! This is because intelligence or skill can be perceived as a part of one’s identity, while hard work is a changeable thing. Praising hard work helps children learn how to keep working hard even when things don’t go according to plan.
Today’s technologically advanced, wildly competitive and ever evolving globalized world is different from the world that existed just ten years ago. It is challenging, but also exciting! As a parent, you have the ability to help your child navigate this world by instilling positive habits and values in them and encouraging them to face these challenges with hard work and innovative thought!
Have your kids ever tried to start a small business of their own?