I have been blessed to spend so much time with kids over the last few months. While there are many moments I am overwhelmed with the constant refereeing, servant requests, and frequent demands my little ones place on me, this experience has opened my eyes to the multiple ways I can influence my kids and their futures. As a parent, I hope and pray I’m not alone in my struggles to successfully teach my children compassionately, yet sternly. It truly is a delicate balance that I have hard navigating.
I can’t help but think that I was too tough on them when I see their eyes shining with a light note of tears due to my raised voice. This especially holds true when they ask me, “Mommy, why are you too tough?” or “Why do adults correct me and tell me no?” As I pick my heart out of my stomach and look upon their tears, I reestablish why I corrected my kids and put in perspective why I’m doing it in the first place.
Many of us know those adults who were never told “no” as a child, who was always the apple of their parent’s eye or the ones that never knew hardship because their parents paved it so there were no speed bumps or disappointments in their life. I can personally recall the many times I had cried in my bedroom due to the various adolescent challenges that came my way. However, my parents rarely stepped in to fight my battles. I had to learn how to face challenges, disappointments, and missed opportunities at a young age so that I could be prepared to face them as an adult.
There were many life lessons that I learned as a youth, that didn’t make sense until I was an adult. The theoretical lightbulb went off over my head as my parents’ discipline motives started to make more sense, especially now that I’m a parent.
That is why I wanted to share some insight into the different ways we can teach our children to be leaders and future entrepreneurs in the workforce. While this won’t guarantee the path they choose since many other factors influence a child’s way in life, it can help put into perspective the role we play when we have to correct or teach our kids some tough life lessons. As the saying goes, “I would rather you cry now, than I cry later.” Let’s dive into some of the ways to help raise your kids to be future entrepreneurs and leaders in our world.
Learn the word, “No,” and when to say it
This is hard – I know from personal experience. However, I can tell which adults were not really told “no” as a young child. Any pushback seems to send them into a frenzy, one that they don’t know how to handle. It also seems as if excuses run rampant as to why they can or can’t do something that they received pushback on. While it’s one thing to not always be the “yes man or woman,” it’s another when you’re just saying “no” because it’s not what you want to hear. Believe me when I say that people catch on real quick to the difference, so teaching it at a young age is extremely helpful for long term success. It’s easier to explain “no” when they are younger than having to deal with it when they are teenagers.
Another aspect of the word, “no,” is teaching your kids when to tell it to other. I still struggle with doing that as an adult due to the guilt I feel disappointing the other person. While time has helped ease the desire to say “yes,” it still doesn’t mean I feel comfortable with it. Learning to say the simple, albeit tough, word, “no,” can help instrumentally as an adult. It’s all part of the process of learning how to manage responsibilities, tasks, and your well-being.
Be a leader, but know when to step back and listen
I think many of us have heard our parents say, “If they jump off a bridge, are you going to follow?” Well, there must be something to the old saying, as our main goal as parents are to raise successful, compassionate, and independent thinking adults.
As your kids get older, it’s important to emphasize the ability to be independent outside of their friends or social circle. You can use examples such as going away to college on your own or promoting activities where you don’t know anyone. Keep encouraging independence to your kids, along with being okay in doing things by yourself. By the time they are adults, eating lunch on their own or taking on a solo project will be no problem for them in the workforce.
Being a leader also encompasses knowing when to step back and let others take charge. You don’t always have to be the one in control by letting others step up to the challenge and build their confidence. After all, good leaders don’t inspire followers, they inspire and grow other leaders.
Strive to win, but know that it’s okay to lose – My son asked me one time that even if he lost, would I still come to watch him run a school race. I was touched by his comment, but I also realized that this was the perfect opportunity to explain the importance of losing and winning and how it will play a part in his life.
Parents can put immense pressure on their kids without realizing the long-lasting effects it can place on them. You want to push your kids to give it their best, but not to be ashamed if they don’t finish in the top spot. It’s the right blend of compassion and encouragement that lets your kids know you will support them, regardless of the outcome. This can help them let better grasp winning versus losing, and what it means to truly earn something with hard work and perseverance on their own accord. Winning will feel sweeter and so will all the determination it took to get there.
As much as it hurts, let them know disappointment
I dread the moments where my kids have to face the feeling of being let down or disappointed by an outcome. However, I remind myself that I won’t always be there for them to fight their battles, especially when they are adults. The day will come where they will have to stand up for themselves on their own, and I can’t hinder that chance to take care of themselves because I’m around to do it for them.
The best thing we can do is to let them know disappointment. As a parent, we have to put into perspective what this means for this future, even if it breaks our hearts in the present.
Just remember that these little tidbits are there to help as you navigate the crazy waters that are parenting. While there is no set path on raising successful children, all I can guarantee is that I’m right here with you doing my best and loving my kids for who they are.