Parents can prepare their children for success by changing their parenting approach. This per Diane Tavenner, the author of Prepared: What Kids Need for a Fulfilled Life. In the book, Tavenner relies on empirical research, her experience as CEO of a public-school network, and lessons she’s learned as a mother. When it comes to preparing kids for success, here are Tanvenner’s top five recommendations.
1. Ignore the Parenting Arms Race
At the end of the day, Tavenner believes it doesn’t matter how many activities children become involved in. What does matter is a child being encouraged to discover what his or her interests and passions are, then given direction toward this from an early age.
A prime example, Mark Zuckerberg’s parents fostered the child prodigy in his interests through actions such as hiring a private tutor and allowing him to take college courses at 11-years-old, spawning a future social media mogul.
2. Give Kids Room To Fail
In a parent’s ideal world, a child’s ventures always end in success. This unrealistic expectation can lead parents to be either too hard on children for failures or to sweep them under the rug. Both approaches are harmful.
Tavenner tells Parentology, “To learn, kids need to be able to make mistakes. Don’t shy away from giving your kids [real-life] tasks that are a stretch for them. Then ask ‘Why do you think you failed?’ This will hopefully also socialize that failure isn’t bad if you learn from it and don’t repeat the same mistakes.”
3. Teach Kids To Pivot
Parents also need to teach children the lifelong skill of pivoting. If something fails to work one way, they should be encouraged to find different solutions or approaches. This teaches resilience. When children learn to risk making mistakes, they open themselves up to greater opportunities for success and growth.
4. Model Curiosity
Tavenner believes modeling curiosity is important. She advises, “When they [kids] ask a question, don’t be afraid to Google the answer together. [It’s] crucial your kids see you learning alongside them.”
There are myriad ways to become involved in a child’s learning process. Virginia Boga, PhD, a child psychologist, tells Parentology, “When your child is in elementary school, sit down with [and go over] their homework … not just checking it, but being really involved with it makes a difference.”
5. Encourage Teamwork
When children participate in teamwork activities, Tavenner says parents often only focus on the value their own children bring to the exchange.
Tavenner recommends parents ask their children what they learned from their peers. This allows them to capitalize on someone else’s ability to complete a task well, while also offering their own expertise in a particular area. Even high-achievers can stretch more by learning to collaborate.
Prepared: What Kids Need for a Fulfilled Life — Sources
Diane Tavenner, Prepared: What Kids Need for a Fulfilled Life
Virginia Boga, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist
CNN: Timeline: Mark Zuckerberg’s rise from child prodigy to Facebook billionaire
Forbes: Have you learnt how to fail forward? The lesson we can’t learn soon enough