Having a tendency to research everything, after I became a mom of two boys I started my quest for answers to the question, “how to raise successful children?” After reading a dozen or so books by experts, and a year or so after implementing some of these strategies, here is what I have come up with…
- Higher IQ does NOT correlate to higher success. Business leaders and outstanding performers are not defined by their IQs or even their job skills, but by their “emotional intelligence”: a set of skills that distinguishes how people manage feelings and interact and communicate with others. Analyses done by dozens of experts in more than 500 corporations, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations worldwide concluded that emotional intelligence is the barometer of excellence in virtually any job. By teaching our kids to understand their own emotions, how to effectively communicate their thoughts and feelings, how to listen and navigate the feelings of others, and how to problem solve, we are helping them to develop a better EQ. (To read more about how to strengthen your child's EQ, click here. For 5 steps to nurture your child's emotional intelligence, click here.)
- Sometimes less is more. Overscheduling our kids and taking them from one activity to another seems to be the norm nowadays. Child psychologists and counselors agree that most children need more playtime. Unstructured play where the child can just ‘be’ allows them to build creativity and confidence. Studies have shown that overscheduled children put pressure on themselves to excel as they grow older and often lack critical coping skills. Many times these children turn to addictions with drugs and alcohol or other unhealthy habits to self-medicate their anxiety. “But my child likes it,” is what lots of parents say when questioning themselves about the number of extracurricular activities in which their children are involved. If you find yourself wondering about the true importance of their commitments, it might be time to sit down and ask yourself the difficult question - does your child really like their activities or is it more about trying to fulfill your dreams and fantasies for or through your child? Remember, it’s all about finding the balance between encouraging and supporting your child’s interests and passions, and creating room for friends, family, downtime, and rest.
- Let loose, be silly, dance… Be goofy! And I’m not talking about the kids, I am talking about you! Let kids know it’s ok to have fun even in stressful situations. This will allow them to learn how to de-stress. They also get to see that mom and dad can be fun. It will equip them with valuable coping skills which will help them to manage the ups and downs in life. Plus, spending quality time with our kids allows us to have open communication and the openness that encourages them to accept our guidance. Also, remember that children can often be our best teachers… we can learn a lot from them, too.