One of a parent’s many jobs is to prepare their child to be a successful adult. It’s important to give them enough information and advice to steer them in the right direction, but also important not to go too far and start telling them exactly what to do. How can you prepare your child for a successful adult life?
Stepping back from your child’s life is an important element of allowing them to be a successful adult. It’s also potentially the hardest thing that a parent can ever be asked to do because they have been there, looking out for their child, from the day they were born. Stepping back can be a difficult task because of how full on parents must be in the early years. However, stepping back does not mean stepping away. You don’t need to check out entirely, you don’t need to – and shouldn’t – ignore what is going on in your child’s life. It just means letting your teenager make their own appointments, for example, and attend them without you ‘nagging’ at them to go. If they miss it, then it’s a good lesson learned. You need to strike the balance between letting your child develop, and ensuring they do everything that is required of them, when it is required.
Let Them Make Their Own Decisions
As your child grows, especially as they become a teenager, they will become more and more ready to make their own decisions. It doesn’t mean they will always get it right, but adults don’t always get it right either. The point is that if the parent is making all the decisions for the child, then they will never learn what it is they really want or feel. If allowed, they might move in an entirely different direction to what the parent had envisioned for them, but that’s okay. They need to make their own choices in life. If they make a mistake, be there for them, pick them up and help them stand on their feet again. You can still give advice – if they want to move out of home, you can advise them to use a reputable moving firm such as Small Moves, and give them your reasons why. If they want to go out partying you can give them the number of a good taxi firm so that you know they can get back safely – but don’t tell them what to do, as this can result in them doing the complete opposite.
Talk to your child like you would with anyone – with respect. If you talk to them like a little child, you can stunt their growth, making them think that they’re not ready to do the things that they really should be doing, and making their own choices in life. It’s hard to admit that your child has grown up, but if you want them to be a successful adult, you need to treat them like one. Have discussions with them, and ask for their opinion. Use a tone that conveys how much you are listening, and how much you value their opinion. Don’t make them feel small or silly for expressing what they think or feel. By not overriding what they are saying, you are communicating that you have confidence in what they are suggesting, and that will make them feel grown up, and good about themselves.
Be A Good Role Model
If you want your child to be a successful adult, you need to be a good role model for them. If you don’t live a healthy lifestyle, for example, then it’s time to start, or your child may not see any reason why they should either. Whereas in the past it might have been a case of ‘do as I say, not as I do’, that will need to change as your child grows older. You could even join a class together, or go running, or start a healthy eating regime. Whatever it is, if you can show your child that you’re doing your best, and trying to be as successful as possible, then they will want to follow suit.
Forget The Power
Being a parent can sometimes be a power struggle, and as children get older, that struggle can get worse. If you want to produce children who will be successful adults, it’s best – if possible – to forget that power struggle. As soon as you engage in it, you will have lost because it’s difficult to listen to someone, or respect them, if you’re constantly doing battle; that goes both ways. If you imagine this power struggle as a tug of war, then you can see how crazy it is to continue; no one ever really wins, it’s just a lot of back and forth. Let go of your end of it, and there will be no one for your child to argue with. You aren’t in competition with your own kid – you just need to oversee what they are doing, and help them when they need it (and ask for it).
Find Places For Them To Go
These days, it’s hard for parents to say to their children to go outside and play. It’s a dangerous world, and so much has changed that the simple things we may have taken for granted when we were young are no longer there. So, look for places for your children to go – without you. Find clubs that they might be interested in, activity groups, organizations such as Girl Guides or Scouts. Find summer camps and days out that someone else has organized. These things are vital. Firstly, they allow the parent to have some time off, to recharge and be more present, happier, and more able to listen when the child gets home. Secondly, for the child, they will learn plenty of useful skills, interact with others, and forge their own path. It’s easy – and tempting – for a parent to want their child with them at all times, to do everything together, but it’s selfish too. Not intentionally, of course, but by depriving the child of being able to do their own thing, it makes it harder for them to be a successful adult.