I do a lot of reading on how to raise kids, especially boys to grow into young men. And the unanimous conclusion is to lead by example, both the mother and the father.
If you take your responsibilities seriously and passionately, then they will see your lead and follow in suite. I understand most people don’t have a very strong work ethic, well I shouldn’t say most; some people don’t. But my theory has always been that you can guide them and teach them at a very young age. Give them responsibilities and if they want something they have to work for it.
As such, my teenage son can’t wait to drive in two more years, but his car dreams are champagne dreams on a Boone’s Farm budget. Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t going to put him in some jalopy, but he is looking at vehicles with all the bells and whistles, that I am just now getting to enjoy at 40, on my own car.
So with that, I introduced him to the world of a summer job. I want him to learn accountability, showing up for a job, I want to teach him work ethic, and I want to teach him the value of the all mighty dollar.
I used to feel bad for being a working mom, but I recently read an article that stated the most successful kids are raised by strong, independent woman, who work outside the home. That actually kind of took me by surprise, because I have always felt guilty for working. Even though I am blessed to have a schedule that I get to pick my boys of from school every day, I figured the pre-occupation of a working mom would detract from their ability to feel completely nurtured or tended to.
But in a nutshell here is one of the lists that I have been reading that can help make your child more successful:
1) Parents make the kids do chores — this again goes back to the accountability, responsibility and earning things and not having it handed to them;
2) They teach their kids social skills — I couldn’t agree more with this one; this is a life skill that everyone needs to have. When your child is a grown adult and knows how to communicate, and not via text or Snapchat, but really talk and communicate, and have good table manners, this are life skills that will be used daily. Whether it’s in a board meeting, a business lunch, or just out for drinks with a client; good manners, make a good impression;
3) They have high expectations for their kids — I have never felt guilty for having expectations for my kids, especially in the classroom. If I felt they weren’t capable or couldn’t do it, then of course I wouldn’t force it, but I know my kids can do it, so I encourage them. After all I think everyone needs to be pushed a little bit, even if it is outside their comfort zone;
4) The parents have a good relationship —whether the parents are married or divorced, it is so important for the parents to work well together and have a good relationship; as the saying goes (especially for divorced couple) “always put the kids first”;
5) The parents have attained higher educational levels —I don’t think this is true across the board, because some kids see that a higher level of education is their ticket to a better life, but kids whose parents do have a higher education know that, that is their only option, they know that an education is and will only be their ticket to a better life;
6) Math is taught to the kids at an early age — math is the subject that interjected into the child’s life at an earlier age to start building upon those skills;
7) The parents have a great relationship with their kids — I feel this is true, because if the kids feel safe and know they can talk to their parents about anything, then they are more confident and successful, they know their support system is always there;
8) Mom’s stress level — they say stress is like a cold, it can be passed from one person to another. So if you think about it, when you are around a friend that is stressed or depressed, you start to feel a little gloomy too, but if the mom is always up and happy and not letting the stresses of juggling work, kids, and life shine through too much, then it won’t affect the children that much;
9) Effort over failure — Parents of successful children support them no matter what, all these parents ask for is their best effort, before they fail, they must try their hardest to success;
10) The mom works — it shows the kids drive and initiative, it also allows them to help out around the house a little bit more, reinforcing that work ethic again.
So you see there are many factors that play into raising a great kid. Some may affect your lifestyle and your kid, and some may not. But these are just some examples that a drew from an article I read a while back in Business Insider.
But the constant theme in all of these is to put some responsibility and accountability on your child so they are better able to find their place in the world, and have some pride in themselves.
Samantha Stroube-Daviss is a local columnist based in Corsicana. She may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Following Samantha’s blog at http://samantha-daviss.blogspot.com and on Twitter at @SamanthaDaviss1.