How to Help Your Child be Successful

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As parents, we all want to raise successful kids, but how success manifests itself in each of our children will be as unique as the individuals themselves.  

So, do you want to know how to help your child be successful? I have 7 tips that will help you as a parent point your children to a successful and meaningful life.

1. Define what success means to you and your child

If you were to ask 100 people to define success, you would probably get 100 different answers. And, that’s simply because success is a relative term.  

We flippantly talk about “successful” people, but we rarely actually define what has made them successful. 

Sure, you can go to the Miriam-Webster dictionary and look up the definition of success…but, even that is vague.

Success is defined as a “favorable or desired outcome.”

In other words, it means you get what you want. Yet, that still begs the question. What do you want, and what does your child want?

If you want to set your child up for success, you need to know what that means.  In other words, what are your expectations both now and in the long-term?

  • Does your child need to achieve all A’s to be successful?
  • Do you want your child to be the most popular kid in the school?
  • Are you expecting your child to get through the whole day without crying?
  • Is having a college degree or trade more successful to you?
  • Will success mean your child is married with 2 children, a dog, and a white picket fence?

These are all defining questions that you and your child need to discuss and revisit because the sooner your child buys into the idea that he can be successful, the sooner he will be on the path to success.

2. Know where your child is starting to help define their success

If you want to know how to help your child be successful, then you have to know your child’s starting point. This will help you and your kiddo determine where the line of success should be drawn.

In other words, you need to define what you hope your child will attain through the lens of where they are at this moment.

Let me give you an example.

A child is 5 years old and wants to learn to read, but she does NOT know all of her letter sounds.

So, are you going to say that she is successful when she reads War and Peace?

Definitely not!

Success would be achieved when she masters all of the sounds. The next level of success would be achieved when she can blend those sounds into small words. Then, when she puts those small words into sentences, she has achieved another level of success.

Understanding where your child is at now will help you define success at every level. This will also help you teach your child about the next step which is setting meaningful and attainable goals.

3. Help your child set meaningful and attainable goals

Once you and your child have defined what success looks like in the big picture of life, you need to help her understand how that can be achieved through daily choices.

  • If achieving all A’s is what she deems as success, encourage her to spend time studying for her science test a week before the exam instead of 15 minutes before.
  • If she wants to be a physical therapist, encourage her to do an internship at a local hospital during the summer.

Help her learn how to set goals that are attainable, yet stretch her out of her comfort zone.  Achieving success means making good choices that will put her one step closer to that outcome.

Understanding how every choice she makes today affects the outcome she hopes to achieve later will be crucial to her success.

4. Let your child learn through struggle

Letting our kids fail and learn through struggle is one of the hardest things about being a parent. But, it is also essential.

Our automatic knee jerk reaction is just to “fix” everything for our kids because we want them to be happy. 

But creating dependence on us does not teach them autonomy.

As a parent, I know it’s easier to tie your son’s shoes than to be late for the dentist appointment. But, easier does not equal better.

Children learn the value of persistence, hard work, and they learn to persevere through situations they never believed they could overcome.

Learning through struggle gives them the opportunity to solve problems and can even lead to discovery. 

And, those little wins add up to big successes later in life.

5. Make sure your child knows that your love is not tied to an outcome

Guilt can be a huge stumbling block to success.

When your kids feel like your love for them is tied to their success, they will burn themselves out trying to “achieve” enough to be loved.   

Then, if they don’t achieve enough, they feel guilty and unworthy of love.

Our kids need to understand that we love them because they are completely unique.  But, this is something they do not just “know.”  You have to actually tell them this.  

Some kids are born as people pleasers and these are the children who have a really hard time with failure.  

But, they need to understand that their worth as a person does not live or die with perceived “success.”

They need to have a firm grasp on the definition of success which is why defining it is so meaningful.

6. Be your child’s biggest cheerleader

No child should ever hear a parent say they are worthless, unsuccessful, or a loser.  These words will be seared into her brain for a lifetime.

Do you want to know how to help your child be successful?

Become your child’s biggest cheerleader!

  • Tell your child over and over that you have confidence in them.  
  • Let them know that you believe they can do anything they choose to do.
  • Remind them that they are valuable and they can be successful.

The confidence that you show in them will eventually emanate from them.

7. Celebrate successes big and small 

One of the best parts about achieving a goal is that you get to celebrate!  Make sure that you take the time to celebrate the achievement and point out how proud you are that your child persisted.  

Remember, it isn’t about celebrating “perfection.”  It’s all about celebrating “persistence.”

In fact, sometimes celebrating progress is even more important.  This shows your child that you value effort and you aren’t completely focused on the end result.

This will give them the confidence to push forward when the goal feels out of reach.

Learning to be confident in yourself and truly believing you are loved regardless of the outcome are two of the greatest signs of a successful life. And if your child has these imprinted on their hearts, then you already know how to help your child be successful.