As my kids go back to school, my wife and I would like to be intentional about the school year. I think the biggest thing we could do for our kids is to give them goals to strive for the school season. It doesn’t matter what age you are: if your target is nothing, you will hit it every time. Some ideas would be penmanship, writing, mathematical skills and anything that you and your child can measure. But what’s more important than that, is you should have conversations with your children and yes, it may be uncomfortable sometimes. You must have uncomfortable conversations so that you can reinforce or clearly establish their goals.
7 things a kid needs to hear are,
- I love you.
- I forgive you.
- I’m listening.
- It’s ok to fail.
- I apologize.
- Do you need help?
- You got what it takes!
- Your love for your kids must be unconditional and the child has to feel as such. If your child thinks that your love is dependent on a test score, dance recital performance or athletic play while you can encourage maximum results, you can still show the love along the journey.
- As long as they are children, they will make mistakes and often times they are insecure or have low self-esteem so you have to be clear about forgiving their mistakes but you also need to clearly communicate that for every action there is a reaction.
Bonus tip: Dating/friends
- Sometimes, having a conversation before a mistake happens could be beneficial in establishing a baseline. For example, if your daughter/son is at the dating age, talking to them about potential first encounters and the questions you would be looking to have answered, would set a good expectation.
- I’m listening – uninterrupted, devices down and focus on your child will show them that their questions or challenges are important and when you give them your undivided attention they will also see that it is important to you, as well.
- Its OK to fail – is something we must do a better job with teaching kids at a younger age. We have to unlearn the notion that failure is the opposite of success and is clearly a part of it .
- I apologize – look, when you are a parent this is another huge area that you can demonstrate maturity. No one is perfect and we often make mistakes as well. Maybe, we are double-booked and might miss a game or we’re not on time for a practice for a school activity, it matters. As a coach, I want my players early and fully prepared to go and although as a parent you may be thinking what’s 5 mins late, it’s not good. You should also develop a better sense of functional with your kids.
- Often times, “do we need help?” is something a kid will never ask or they sometimes don’t know when to ask for it. As a parent’s involvement should be as such, that we know enough about our kids when they have a project due or they’re trying to understand. The simple question, “do you need help? or do you understand?” will solve a lot of problems. A lot of times, I ask my kids as they’re getting older to cook or clean and sometimes I assume they know what I’m talking about.
- First, tell someone what you want.
- Then show them how you want it.
- Watch them do it and coach them up.
- Let them do it themselves.
When we skip steps 1 – 4, we leave our critical steps, they could give you heartaches.
You have what it takes:
- We have to realize our experiences as adults are merely OUR experiences. So many times we place limitations on our kids such as, you can’t make the team or let’s look at a realistic college or why do you want to dance when you can’t dance.
- My belief is that we all have our own, unique abilities if a child has a dream or desire to be something. Maybe that’s even harder if you can encourage it along the journey, they will gain transferable skills that would be helpful in any other endeavor. If you were able to encourage your child to make his dream in the NFL, the discipline, scarface and efforts that he put in would set him up for success in anything else that he wants to do in his life.