• These Skills Will Give Your Kids the Edge to Have a Great Future
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  • Robots taking over jobs in the future used to be science fiction, but not anymore. “The best research to date says that nearly 50 percent of our jobs will be automated, and that may be just the beginning because technology will continue to advance and get smarter,” Edward Hess, professor of business administration at the University of Virginia and co-author of Humility Is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age, told Inc.com.

    Already by 2020, robots may take over more than 5 million jobs globally, according to a report from the World Economic Forum, considerably affecting the rate of job loss. Sectors that will lose jobs can include office and administrative, energy and financial services, manufacturing and production, and the healthcare industry.

    It sounds far-fetch now, but all of us experience the convenience of technology and automation on a daily basis through our smart devices and appliances. By the time our kids become part of the workforce, they will primarily compete with these robots. So how do we give our kids a fighting chance?

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    Fortunately, we can help our kids with something artificial intelligence cannot replace -- social and emotional intelligence or the ability to manage one’s own emotions and relate well with others, 

    Innovation and creativity will give our future grown-ups a step-up from robots who cannot think out of their pre-programmed boxes. “Teach [kids] to be curious, to learn something new every day, to read every day, to have the courage to try when failure is a possibility,” said Hess. Foster a love of learning and provide an environment where experimentation, trial and error and failure are valued, he added.

    To do this, said Hess, it may be wiser to do away with the belief that your child needs to be at the top of his class to succeed in life. Resist overpressuring your child to the point of stifling him. Your child needs to be able to try, fail, learn, and grow in his own way and at his own pace. It’s a parenting style that coincides with psychiatrist and author Dr. Marcia Sirota’s conviction that overparenting leads to a child who is less able to cope with failure and frustrations, which can then lead to an unemployable adult.  

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    According to Hess, another essential skill set that robots cannot perform but we can nurture in our children is the ability to connect and empathize with others emotionally. Making connections with others means your child will be able to collaborate and work in teams effectively, said Hess, always a necessity in the workplace. 

    In an article for Motherly, psychologist and parenting expert Dr. Laura Markham writes social intelligence is critical not only to career success but a child’s happiness throughout life as well. Nurturing your child’s emotional and social intelligence can be achieved in three steps, she explained. Here are specific tips to practice them at home: 

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    Step 1: Help your child manage her emotions – the foundation of interpersonal relationships
    The key is to develop your child’s self-control from an early age. Say, for example, you tell your child he can only have ice cream after dinner. Instead of whining or crying, you want your child to know how to manage his emotions and control his impulse to throw a tantrum.

    How to: “Every time we set a limit that our child accepts, she's practicing self-control,” said Dr. Laura Padilla-Walker, associate director of Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life. 

    Imagine your child busy playing with his toys. You, on the other hand, want him to get dressed for school already. Punishing him by saying you’ll take his toys away if he doesn’t get dressed will not teach him self-control since you’re forcing him. But if you tell him you’ll give him five more minutes to play, and he accepts this, he’ll be able to control himself better and stop playing when the time is up. 

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    Step 2: Develop your child’s empathy for others
    Children who are empathetic can share another person's feelings and respond accordingly. They tend to be kind and caring towards others. “Empathy is a skill that experts from many disciplines have deemed important for personal, relationship and career success,” said psychiatrist Dr. David Sack.

    How to: During difficult situations that include emotional conflict, instead of discounting a child’s feelings or forcing him to follow, discuss how their actions affect others. Do away with lines like, “Say you’re sorry.” There is much more to learn when you ask him, “How do you think your friend is feeling? How would you feel if you were him? What could you do to help?” 

    Step 3: Show your child how she can express her feelings positively
    Kids are entitled to their feelings, said Dr. Markham, including ones that are not so positive. And, just like adults, children are also responsible for what they do with those feelings, she added.

    How to: Be a good role model. Your child will learn best from what you do, not what you say. When you’re feeling upset, and your child notices it, describe what you’re going through and handle your emotions well.  Say something like, “The alarm didn’t go off this morning. It’s so annoying! I guess we’ll just have to move a bit faster today if you want to catch the school bus.”

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