New Year’s resolutions seem to fade into the abyss after the first week. My particular New Year’s resolution is to always put 100 percent into my parenting, helping my children find their own sense of independence and determination. It may sound like mission impossible, but it can be much easier than you might think.
Achieving this resolution is not about changing who you are as a parent, rather adjusting your own thinking to help shape your child’s mind for the better. As parents, all you want is for your children to find their own success and thrive in an environment they feel passionate about.
These simple key points can easily be implemented in our daily routines:
1. Begin with setting goals
What is success and how do we determine when it happens? Popular TED Talks define success as “feeling that tingle of excitement about what you do, sticking with what matters through hard times, and living a life you can feel proud of in retrospect.” Success ultimately is about achieving a goal that may encounter hurdles or even failure along the way. Success is about learning from these mistakes and developing the ability to persist. Success is never looking back to reflect on ‘what could have been’ but always looking ahead and envisioning what is to come. It is vital to prepare for the task ahead in order to accomplish it, no matter how big or small. Plan a few small and achievable goals with your children and have these on your fridge or mirror so you can refer to them and they know when to celebrate their own personal achievement.
2. Fixed mindset versus growth mindset
Many psychologists suggest that people think in either one of two ways when it comes to talent; fixed mindset or growth mindset. A fixed mindset is when a person believes talent is innate or inbuilt and that it cannot be taught. People with a growth mindset are of the opinion that talent is within everyone and it needs training and nurturing for that talent to be unleashed. Enabling a growth mindset can help your child feel capable to reach their full potential. It also helps to bring out a stronger sense of passion and the confidence to thrive. A fixed mindset may hinder a child’s progress and passion. It can jeopardise a child’s ability to dream, imagine all the possibilities for themselves and can also be harmful to their mental health if they feel inadequate or unable to achieve beyond a certain level. Creating a growth mindset for your child also plants the seeds of aspiration, opportunity and the desire to excel beyond limitations. A great New Year’s resolution is to keep an open mind and explore potential pathways before closing the door on them.
Always remind your child when they feel like they can’t do something, that they only need to add a simple word to the end of their sentence; they can’t do it yet.
3. Children are independent thinkers
In the early years, children are avid investigators, searching for answers that can give themselves a sense of purpose in the big wide world. They need guidelines and rules to keep them on track of their own investigation, maintaining a sense of diligence within them. However, children also need to become explorers, self-thinkers and be critical of information fed to them. This is why it is important that parents set rules, but also balance this with independence. The child can then discover, make mistakes, learn and grow from these experiences. The more they play with the idea of independence, the quicker they will adapt to the world beyond school and develop their own true sense of self-identity.
4. Patience is invaluable
Learning the art of patience will help your child understand that success is a marathon, not a sprint. It will also teach them that success only comes to those wanting to achieve it by putting in the hard work. If parents show patience with children and give them the opportunity to experience and notice delayed gratification in its many forms, the child will quickly grasp their natural ability to listen and wait for their turn to act.
5. Praise is motivation
Praise or encouragement can truly help unleash the potential in any child. All children have a special superpower, be it a physical talent or an emotional capability. If you find your child is struggling, offer them a simple task and reward them with specific praise. If the child knows exactly what they did really well with that task they can feel a sense of gratification and motivation to continue performing well. Genuine praise, as opposed to empty compliments, allow your child to see the sincerity in your response. This response from you is what truly swells their chest and lifts their heads to the sky.
New Year's resolutions are hard to keep, but parenting is the one thing where even a small effort can make a huge impact. These key points could make a big difference in your child’s wellbeing, confidence, and determination to thrive.