Ways to Help Encourage Your Child to Become a Leader
“Leadership is unlocking someone's potential to become better.” -Bill Bradley
I recently came across an article about ways parents cripple their children from becoming leaders. As a child, I never felt as if my parents really fostered leadership. It probably didn't help that I was a huge (and still am) introvert. Yet I wonder if there were actions they could have taken that would have helped me feel more comfortable taking the lead every once in awhile.
The article interviewed Dr. Tim Elmore, who is an expert in the area of how to understand the next generation and prepare tomorrow's leaders today.
Mr. Elmore feels that there are damaging parent behaviors that hold children back from becoming leaders. Instead of focusing on the negative, I would rather think about ways to encourage leadership traits in a child. Here are several ways you can encourage leadership in your child.
Let Them Take Risks
Allowing your child to take risks, such as playing hard on the playground or getting their heart broken by a “girlfriend/boyfriend” helps build their self esteem. It encourages them to learn from their mistakes and grow as a person. Dr. Elmore states that if children do not experience risk than they more more likely to have a low self esteem and be highly arrogant.
Allow Them to Explore the Possibilities
Many times parents will rescue their child far too quickly, instead of letting them navigate through a situation themselves. If we don't let a child try to solve their problem all the way through, then they will grow to expect that someone will be there to pick up the pieces when things fall apart. This of course is not how the real world works. In turn, a child who is always rescued too early from a situation has a difficult time becoming a competent adult.
Keep Praise Only When It's Deemed Appropriate
The”self esteem” effort that began in the school systems in the 1980s, has been shown to have unintended consequences. Research in this area has shown that kids eventually realize that only mom and dad are giving them all this praise. They then begin to question if mom and dad really are telling them the truth. Dr. Elmore feels that this cycle of non-stop positive reinforcement leads to children who learn to cheat, exaggerate, and lie in order to avoid reality.
Give Your Child Tough Love
Many times a parent feels guilty about telling their child “no” or “not now”, so we give in to demands. Although you may feel as if you are letting your child down when you say “no”, Dr. Elmore feels that you are helping them see what they really need and value.
Be the Right Role Model
If you want your child to become a strong minded, leader, model honesty in your home. Even the smallest white lies will show your child that lies are acceptable. Help your child become a selfless person by doing volunteer work together as a community service project or with a community group.