Raising a Champion requires a plan. The journey from infancy to young adult independence is a long and rocky one. Without a “flight plan” it can be frustrating and you may often feel like you are groping in the dark.
This is the flight plan that helped my husband and me raise three kids who are now awesome adults with families of their own. This strategy will give you a blueprint as a parent so that you can raise a child who is compassionate, strong, trustworthy, and full of integrity.
Key #1 Give Them a Compass
Establish core values in your home. They can include your faith, character traits that are important to you and that you want to see develop in your children. This is giving your kids a compass, a path to follow for their life.
The most important part of giving them a compass is paying attention to who YOU are. Focus on being the person you want your child to be. The way your children turn out does not depend so much on your parenting strategy but rather on who YOU are. This means shifting your focus from what can you DO for your child to what you can BE for your child.
Key #2 Practice Healthy Communication
Good communication is the glue that holds every healthy home together. It takes work; it will not just happen automatically. It means that you practice active listening, seek to understand, know when to filter your words, ask good questions of your child and of yourself, and listen without judging.
Good communication also means that you don’t shy away from having hard conversations with your child or spouse. It means you resolve conflicts when you are calm, not when emotions are high and escalating.
Key #3 Teach Kids to Fight Their Own Battles
Children are stronger than you think. It’s easy to swoop in and rescue rather than watch your child fight through things, but they are more resilient and inventive than you realize. Yet parents are quick to step in and fight their child’s battles because they are trying to keep control over a situation that they really can’t control or they are taking responsibility for their child’s happiness.
But here’s the deal: when your child learns to come to you to get rescued, they will never learn to take responsibility for their own messy choices. Long-term, you will raise a child who does not know how to solve problems or stand up for themselves but are dependent on others to fix things for them.
Key #4 Build a Solid Team
There are three parts to building a solid team:
- Expose your child to adults who affirm your core values, such as teachers, coaches, aunts, uncles, grandparents, youth pastors or mentors.
- Guide your child to choose good friends, preferably those who family core values align with yours.
- Build your own personal support system: a support group, supportive friendships, mentor, coach or counselor. You might even want to take the step to further your education.
Key #5 Focus on Others
Serving others as a family will help instill compassion in your kids. There are tons of ways to serve in your church or community and that will be something to explore together as a family. But the important thing is to focus on others and look outside our own small world. It’s a good way for kids to learn that life is not all about them and their problems.
You may agree with me that all of these keys are good and you want to use them in your home, but perhaps you are struggling with how to implement them.
How can you come up with core values and how do you implement them into your everyday life?
How can you do better at communicating as a family and as a couple?
How are you doing at letting your child fight their own battles?
What does your “team” look like? How can you build a support system in your life?
How can you incorporate serving into your family life?
If you’d like answers to any of these questions, I’d like to invite you to learn more about my coaching program The Parenting Toolbelt, six sessions of practical tools to help you parent more effectively and with less stress. If you’d like to know more, let’s talk. Set up a free intro call with me here.