We all want our kids to succeed in life. At the same time, nobody wants to be an annoying pushy parent. Just how do you get the balance right? Below are a few tips on how to push your kids to succeed without pushing too hard.
Encourage them to follow their passions (not yours)
You should encourage kids to follow their passions - not your passions. Just because you used to love football or just because you have a maths degree doesn’t mean that your kids will follow the same path. Your child may prefer to do dance or may want to take up an art degree. If this is where their passions lie, you should support them to follow these passions.
Kids may sometimes need guidance identifying their passions and goals. For instance, if a child is passionate about Christianity but does not know what to do with this, you could recommend a new Christian course. In some cases, you may be able to help kids find passions by letting them try different clubs and hobbies. You can then let them choose which clubs or hobbies they want to return to.
Know when to praise and when to criticise
Both praise and criticism are important, but you need to know when to give the right amount of each. Praise should be given whenever a child works hard for something - regardless of whether they succeed or fail. This reinforces the fact that it’s good to put in effort. If an achievement takes no effort at all, it’s usually not worthy of praise (continuing to praise them may just inflate your child’s ego, which is not what you want). This post offers some more detailed praise science that could be worth reading.
Criticism can be necessary to help kids improve, but should always be constructive. Too much criticism is likely to demotivate your child. If possible, this is why you should always provide criticism in small chunks rather than listing off criticisms - focus on the most important criticism, let them improve this, praise them for it and then move onto the next criticism when they’re ready to move forward.
Know when to give your kids a break
It’s important that when your child achieves something, you’re not too eager to move onto the next stage. Let them bask in their glory for a bit. When your child is done celebrating, you can then move onto the next goal.
Similarly, if a child is trying and trying and continuously failing, it could be worth recommending that they take a break. Sometimes we need to get away from a problem so that we can return to it with a clear head. Keep pushing and they may just get more frustrated and lose motivation.
Don’t try to compete with other parents
Motivating your child to succeed should be something that you do for you and your child. You shouldn’t be motivating your kid to succeed just so that you can gloat about it to other parents.
Similarly, if your child does sports, you shouldn’t be competing to be the loudest one on the sidelines. We’ve all seen these types of parents and they usually just end up embarrassing their kids. Don’t be this parent!