This is the second half of a two-part article. If you missed Part 1, click here.
But what a lot of people get wrong here is setting goals that are too broad or completely unrealistic; it’s a setup for failure when it doesn’t have to be. The path to realize any dream should include a series of small, achievable goals to reach a milestone instead of broad unattainable ones. As a matter of fact, it’s scientifically proven that we have a better chance of reaching goals that are manageable — say for instance, setting a goal of putting $250 in a savings account each month opposed to saving $5000 by the end of the year.
Your kids will be on a better path to becoming a well-rounded individual if you let them be creative; explore the world around them; encourage participation in music, art, sports, and culture — and supporting them even though it may not be your thing; play; dress how they want; and otherwise express themselves. Doing so will allow them to find out who they are, rather than who you want them to be.
Civility & Good Manners
“Civility and manners are free and they will get you further in life than the same skills without them,” explains relationship expert April Masini, author of the advice column AskApril. “Simple manners like holding a door open for a woman, or giving up your seat for an elderly person or someone who’s pregnant, as well as writing a thank-you note and responding to party invitations timely are all simple manners that parents forget to teach their children, regularly.”
Open & Honest Communication
Communicating and keeping an open dialogue with your family — and, furthermore, establishing it from the time your kids can speak — is perhaps the most important tip on this list.”If you don’t have a dinner table conversation on a regular basis, use the carpool as a vehicle to teach your kids the art of conversation,” Masini says. “They’re captive; take advantage of the time. You’ll get further if instead of being didactic, you engage them. Ask them questions about their day, and their feelings. Make jokes and tell them about yourself. Comment on social situations by keeping the tone positive, and steer away from gossip because it’s a bad habit that can be broken with discipline and guidance.”
Self-Awareness, Independence & Self-Confidence
“The biggest gift parents can give their kids is a sense of self-awareness, independence and self-confidence to be able to advocate and take care of business on their own,” says Dr. Chester Goad, author and former K12 teacher and principal. “Kids should be fully included in conversations about their education and capabilities, and especially related to planning for the future. I work in higher education and I know pretty quickly when students have been taught to understand their disability or differences, and advocate for themselves and when that has always been done for them. As parents we’re doing our kids a disservice if we don’t teach them how to be independent, and how to approach doctors, teachers or other professionals, or really how to live life as a fully functioning adult.”
The Meaning of ‘No’
Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’. Kids need boundaries, and they need to recognize that they don’t get everything they want. Say ‘no’ and stand firm; assert your authority. Be the boss. Teach them about how they’ll always have to answer to someone in life.
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