You don't really have a child and tell yourself, "I'm going to raise the next president of this country or the next CEO of this global brand" (at least not often LOL). You want him to become successful in life, but you wonder should you be keeping books on Jack Ma, Injap Sia or Bill Gates by your bedside table?
The books will definitely help, but there's nothing like making your kids do household chores to understand what it means to be responsible. Your kids will have a chance at thriving in the real world by seeing your example, parents, and letting them be on their own, the hardest part for parents these days.
So how can you be hindering your child from reaching his potential to be the next Ma or Sia?
1. You don’t let your child decide for herself Leaders often are tasked with making decisions that can affect a lot of people. When you let your child decide for herself even at a young age, it gives her the chance to practice independence and risk-taking. She learns grit, so when she experiences failure, you're confident she will get up again. (Read here how to raise your child to become a "failure jedi.")
Of course, handing the decision-making responsibility to your child is scary; parents do not like to see their child struggle or fail. But deciding on something means you have to take the consequences that come with it. “Kids need to fall a few times to learn it’s normal,” said Kathy Caprino, a career growth and personal success coach, in an article for Forbes. Which leads to the next point…
2. You’re too quick to “rescue” and fix your child’s problems for him Say, you see your little one struggling to pour himself a glass of water or witnessed another child saying mean words to your kiddo. What would you do? “When we rescue too quickly and over-indulge our children with ‘assistance,’ we remove the need for them to navigate hardships and solve problems on their own,” said Caprino.
The more your child thinks, become frustrated, and try out different ways of doing things, the more she becomes an “expert” at figuring things out on her own many times, says psychologist Ma. Araceli Balajadia-Alcala. (Read here how to raise resourceful toddlers.)
One of a leader’s most important trait is the ability to problem solve. This also goes hand in hand with the perseverance to overcome obstacles. So, don’t be so quick to run over to your child with a “let mommy do it for you.” Watch your child struggle and, eventually, succeed. It will make both you and him feel proud.
3. You don't give your child enough opportunities to socialize “A key to being able to influence others is to have some interpersonal savvy,” said clinical psychologist Jamie M. Howard, Ph.D., in an article for PBS.org. “Being able to truly appreciate others’ strengths, personalities and opinions is a vital part of leadership.”
Make sure your child spends time with kids around her age. Schedule playdates or take her to a playground. “Social skills are taught by doing, so have them practice focusing on their friends without electronic distractions, making eye contact, sharing ideas, listening to other kids’ perspectives and showing respect,” she added.
4. You have a hard time telling him “no” Leaders know how to deal with rejection and disappointment and know the right way to insist on something they believe in or feel strongly about. Spoiled children, who get everything they want, often grow up to be the opposite, said Dr. Howard.
“Your kids will get over the disappointment, but they won’t get over the effects of being spoiled. So tell them ‘no’ or ‘not now,’ and let them fight for what they really value and need.”
“A great first step toward raising a leader is teaching your child how to communicate effectively,” said Katie Hurley, a child and adolescent psychotherapist, in an article for Momtastic. This includes learning to be assertive without being aggressive. This entails maintaining good eye contact, speaking in a firm but clear voice (no yelling), and listening with interest with what the other person has to say.
Demanding an expensive toy gets a definite no from mom or dad, but asking for a few more minutes of screentime can be negotiated. Mom might just say yes if the reason for it is valid.
5. You dictate his life too much Leaders are dreamers, said Hurley. They have a goal and, with their own driving passion, help others reach theirs as well. Allow and support your child to follow his own interests even if they seem odd to you at first. If your child does not want to play basketball (even if you picture him being part of the varsity team) but is eager to audition in a school play, consider letting him try it out. He will be more motivated to do his best if his heart is in what he does.