5 life lessons to raise kids who make you proud – distilled from the wisdom of parents

In a recent meeting with parents, a gentleman commented that every parent must strive to raise kids who make you proud. While nobody disagreed, there was no unanimity on what qualities in kids contribute to making their parents proud of them.

Raise Kids who make you Proud
Raise Kids who make you proud

Every parent strives to provide the best resources for their kids. All parents want smart and disciplined kids. However, what qualities can really help raise kids who make you proud? This led me to a brainstorming session with a few close friends of mine who themselves are parents. Our discussions are boiled down to five key aspects below.

Develop self-confidence in your kids

What is self-confidence?

Self-confidence is about developing a supreme self-belief in one’s own abilities. It is the knowledge that you can do something and do it well.

Why is building a child’s self-confidence important?

Boosting a child’s self confidence brings in multiple benefits to him/her

  1. It increases their self-esteem (how one perceives oneself).
  2. Self-confidence enhances the ability of children to face unfamiliar situations.
  3. It allows them to strike new relationships without hesitation.
  4. It gives them the courage to stand up against injustice.

How do I build my child’s self-confidence?

Building your kid’s self-confidence does not come easy. It takes years of backing your kid and reinforcing their mind to believe in themselves. Successes automatically contribute to self-confidence building. Self-confidence is at the core of efforts to raise kids who can make you proud.

  1. Encourage them to try their hand at new things. Setup small challenges. Ex: By next week, let’s see if you can tie your own shoelaces.
  2. Praise the journey as well as the end result. Analyse the ups and downs along the journey along with them. Ex: I am happy that you have already learnt to tie the half bow on your shoelaces. You are half way there already!
  3. Stay by the side lines and let them be the heroes of their stories. Ex: Wow. You’ve mastered tying the shoelaces, that too within 3 days. You are a fast learner. Ready for your next challenge?
A self confident child stands apart from the crowd
A self confident child stands apart from the crowd
Building your kid's self-confidence does not come easy. It takes years of backing your kid and reinforcing their mind to believe in themselves #RaisingKids #Parenting Click To Tweet

Teach them to say ‘Sorry’ when they commit a mistake

Saying ‘sorry’ does not come easy unless you are tuned for it from childhood. Developing sensitivity among kids towards others’ feelings takes time. Elders in the family, teachers at school must all frequently practice the same. Kids observe them and pick up the habit of saying a ‘sorry’ when required.

Saying sorry should be genuine too. It should not sound fake or hollow. Teach your children to apologize and also ask if they can do something to correct the situation. This will be better received by the opposite party.

Example 1: I am sorry that I could not make it on time to help with the birthday party decorations. I will stay back after the party to help you clean up.

Saying sorry should be genuine. It should not sound fake or hollow. Teach your children to apologize and also ask if they can do something to correct the situation. #RaisingKids #Parenting Click To Tweet

Example 2: I am sorry Mom I could not live up to your expectations in last battery of tests. I will double up my efforts and bring back the smile on your face.

However, not all situations require kids to be apologetic. Their apologetic nature should not be misconstrued by others as a sign of weakness.

Being helpful must be second nature for your kids

Being helpful to others is again a trait that is better taught by putting it in action rather than talking about it. Giving up your seat to a needy person in public transport, the act of buying a packet of biscuits and some juice for a needy child by the roadside, helping a lady with her groceries up to her home – are all small acts of kindness that should be spontaneously taken up. Kids observe you and follow suit. You need not even prompt them.

Raise kids who are helpful and they will surely make you proud. It is one of those traits that will win them friends and admirers.

Being helpful must be second nature to your kids
Being helpful must be second nature to your kids

Here are 5 ways in which you can ask them to show kindness and extend a helping hand

  1. If a student was absent at school, tell your kid to offer help in getting him to understand a lesson that he/she missed
  2. Offer the teacher help in carrying books or models to the class and back.
  3. Ask them to help out their younger brothers/sisters with homework or cleaning up their toys.
  4. Prompt them to ask Dad if he needs help with gardening or washing his vehicle.
  5. Prompt them to ask Mom if she needs help with some kitchen work.
Teach your kids to spontaneously perform acts of kindness. It will repay them in ways they cannot imagine. #RaisingKids #Parenting Click To Tweet

Let them appreciate life and be thankful

Yet another element when you raise kids who make you proud is that of ‘thankfulness’. Teach your kids that life is long and they will need to learn to be thankful for everything they have in life. Remind them about how they are luckier than a lot of children who could have got a better deal. Ask them to be thankful.

How do you inculcate the quality of thankfulness?

  1. Encourage kids to think about others, especially less privileged folks
  2. When kids demand something, ask them to write a few reasons why they think it is so important that they get it
  3. Avoid instant gratification, delay it and make kids work for it.
  4. Start the culture of thankfulness. Say a ‘thank you’ to the milkman, the public sanitation worker, the waiter at the restaurant, the ticket conductor on the bus, etc.
  5. Show your kids the pleasures of leading a simple life that shuns unnecessary materialistic stuff. Avoid the pitfalls of consumerism culture.
When kids demand something, avoid instant gratification, delay it and make kids work for it. #RaiseKids #Parenting Click To Tweet

Be patient with your kids

Finally, if you wish to raise kids who make you proud, remember that it takes time. It takes perseverance, earnest efforts every day and course corrections to maintain the track. Kids will be kids.

Patience is key when you wish to construct something awesome
Patience is key when you wish to construct something awesome

They are discovering the world not just through your eyes alone. They are exploring the world through their teachers, friends, neighbours and relatives. You cannot give a completely sanitized, packaged world for them. However, you can arm them with the tools to help them deal with situations that life throws at them. The right approach should be praised while the incorrect approach needs to be corrected. All this takes time and patience.

Every day is about learning the right things and unlearning the wrong things. I am reminded of Ann Landers, the famous columnist who famously said, ” It’s not what you do for your children, it is what you taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings”

"It’s not what you do for your children, it is what you taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings" – Ann Landers, famous American columnist #RaiseKids #Parenting Click To Tweet [yikes-mailchimp form=”3″ title=”1″ description=”1″]

Further Reading

  1. Teaching kids to be grateful – Jill Savage
  2. Raising Confident Kids – D’Arcy Lyness

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