All parents want their children to be successful. Parents naturally want kids to be viewed as courageous leaders, willing to take on any challenge. However, instilling leadership traits in children takes a lot of practice and patience.
We could probably debate all day on what it means for kids to reach their maximum potential, but there are a few things psychologists agree can set your child apart. I’ve listed 10 of these below to get the ball rolling. And who knows — maybe you could learn a thing or two as well! After all, isn’t that what parenting is all about?
1. Have Them Try Out Sports
Most parents would agree that having your kids do sports can teach them about teamwork, which is a significant component of leadership. However, according to the Washington Post, 70% of kids drop out of sports by age 13. This can be attributed to several factors, including a lack of interest, the prospects of not playing in college and discovering alternative sports such as skateboarding.
If they drop out at some point, that’s absolutely fine. The goal here isn’t that they just “find a sport,” but rather that they have participated in an activity that gets them to use their bodies, learn a skill and function as a member of a team.Today In: Leadership
2. Focus On Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence indicates how well your child understands empathy and sympathy, and is a significant factor in problem-solving. As you probably already know, these are critical skills to have as a leader. If you’d like to gauge where you or your child fall on the emotional intelligence scale, Psychology Today has provided a free test that takes a little less than an hour.
3. Embrace Failure
This can be tricky for a lot of parents. We can sometimes get so wrapped up in wanting the best for our kids that we neglect to deal with what happens when things don’t work out as planned. As Psychological Science notes, how a child deals with failure and hardship is a strong predictor of his or her growth and intelligence. Ensure that you teach your child to deal with failure in a healthy, constructive manner.
4. Establish Sound Financial Practices
One of the most important things to teach your children is how to manage their finances. Hard times can hit anyone; what is crucial is how they respond. As CreditRepair notes, the trickle-down effect of debt can affect your parenting style, as well as the overall happiness of your family.
5. Take Them On Trips
Traveling doesn’t necessarily mean you have to book a trip to a foreign country. It could involve a visit to a nearby state park or simply spending a day exploring your city or town. The important thing is that you’re spending quality time with your kids outside of the house. According to a study by New Mexico State University, parents who take the time to do activities with their children have a much stronger emotional connection than those who just are in the same room watching TV. It’s not always about the amount of time you spend with your kids, but the quality of it.
6. Teach Patience
Patience is a skill that, when taught right, can last a lifetime. It’s one of the reasons fishing and hunting are popular activities for parents and kids, because they teach “proactive patience.” You’re intentionally doing something that requires waiting, which is a great skill in becoming an excellent listener or observer.
7. Give Them Time To Be Creative
Creativity is one of the best tools a leader can have, so it’s important to give your children the opportunity to flex their creative muscles. As Berkeley University’s Greater Good magazine notes, there are plenty of great ways to foster creativity, including encouraging them to read and having artworks around the house.
8. Practice Negotiation Techniques With Them
It might sound silly that parents should teach their kids to be on a level playing field with them, but it’s actually a pretty useful communication skill. A study conducted by Bond University on teaching negotiation suggests that role plays focused on seeing different viewpoints of a situation can be effective.
9. Instill The Dangers Of Procrastination
Almost everyone procrastinates at one time or another. However, if procrastination becomes a habit, it can prevent someone from reaching his or her full potential. As a parent, you’re always going to want to let your kid be a kid, but it’s also important to teach them how to get things done when it’s necessary. Dr. Tim Pychyl, a psychologist at Carleton University, has an excellent lecture that offers suggestions on how to reduce procrastination tenfold.
10. Lead By Example
The platitude is true: as a parent, you’re going to be the most important teacher your child will have. Whatever you do, they’re going to mimic. Don’t believe me? A study conducted by Pew found that 72% of parents wanted their parents to view them as a good parent. This phenomenon lasts a lifetime, so get used to being the best you can be. It’s guaranteed to have a lasting effect on your kids!
This article originally found on Forbes.com