How to Help Your Child Become a Good Adult
I know plenty of people who never went to college, yet they’re some of the smartest people I know. I’m not necessarily talking book smart – which can only take you so far. I’m talking about just being plain smart, worldly, and wise.
Those people are subtle and wonderful reminders that there isn't one path to success. Titles and money aren't the most important things. What really matters is serving others. I’d far rather our children be someday concerned with others’ welfare than their own.
How can they accomplish that? There are plenty of ways they can become good adults someday, and we as parents have a strong hand in that.
Spend time with them
The message from researchers is clear: spend time with your kids. Play on the floor. Read together. Play outside. Interact. The more your children can develop a healthy, strong attachment to you, the more they will be stronger socially and be able to develop a healthy relationship with others. The alphabet and counting will come in time, but the sooner you can foster a strong sense of self-esteem where your children will feel safe and loved, the better they’ll be.
Become best friends
I’ve often heard parents say that you shouldn’t become best friends with your children in order to maintain your position of respect and authority. However, don’t think in terms of your high school best friend, think big picture. A best friend is someone with whom you share the strongest possible kind of friendship, where you can say and do anything and know you’re still loved. Best friends share and love deeply. Who wouldn’t want that? Most grown adults want that with their elderly parents, so why wouldn’t you want to share that right now, and all throughout life?
Make home life happy
Did your parents fight in front of you or others? I’m thankful mine didn’t, but I know some who experienced that. It’s ugly, and it doesn’t make the home a very happy place. The more your children can see a home filled with mutual respect and love, the better they’ll be able to impart that when they’re as old as you.
This relates strongly to #2. Talk to them every day about what made them happy or sad. Talk about their future. Find out what they want. The more you can get them to be open and honest about everything they do, the less abrasive will be the teenager years. Remember, talking requires action, and action takes work. But the result will totally be worth it.
There’s nothing wrong with showing kids that they have to work in life. Relationships take work, and so does general home life. So give them chores, even at a young age. You can slowly build upon the responsibilities over time, but you’ll help them develop good life skills and a work ethic that will carry with them forever
Be an example
If you make a habit of swearing, lying, and cheating, that’s not good. But if you do it and tell your child not to do that, then that’s going to send mixed messages. For example, if you insist on no eating before supper but you’re secretly snacking, what does that say to them about you? Most job interviews don’t discuss book smarts, they instead gives companies the chance to find more about someone’s character and those innate traits that are so difficult to measure. Most of that is called integrity.
Emphasize the importance of family
Friends, co-workers, and associates will come and go over time, but the one constant will always be family. Remind your kids the importance of familial relations and tell your family’s story often. Remember their birthdays and anniversaries, display their photos on your walls, make time daily to talk, and put a value on relationships. It’s one thing to tell someone you love them, but another to show it.