Every important journey includes constant moments of thinking, action, reflection and revised action. And parenting is no exception to this rule. It is easy for parents to get swept up in their own lives and forget to pause and reflect on how they are raising their kids. For example, without meaning to, parents sometimes project their own dreams and failures on their children.
On the other hand, Smart Parents make it a point to be highly aware of their interactions with their kids. They tend to question their methods and revise them as needed.
1. Am I coddling my child or allowing them to learn?
All parents want what is best for their chid however the best in this case often turns out to be a protected, sheltered life without learning any useful life-skills. Smart parents understand that the best path for a child is to face challenges, learn how to tackle them and understand how to learn from failure.
2. Am I focused on building a strong relationship with my child or making them obey me?
Just because your child is obedient does not mean you have discovered the golden rules of parenting. It merely means your child is obedient, nothing more. What success parents focus on is building a relationship with their kids. That makes the difference in the long run.
3. Do I force my kids to do things?
There is a difference between making a commitment to do certain things and being forced to do it. Smart parents understand that you cannot force kids to do stuff. Outstanding children achieve success by making a commitment to excel. This is the reason why smart parents allow their children to make their own choices and take responsibility for the outcome. By doing so, you will raise emotionally healthy adults who know how to cope with anything life throws at them.
4. Do I focus on what my child is doing or what she is becoming?
As smart parents, we should focus more on what the child is becoming. Knowing and doing can be temporary. Children need to know how to attract permanent success. For example, any student can pour in 100 per cent effort and ace an exam. It will take successful habits and consistency to ace every exam and emerge as the top student. Temporary success is determined by what you know and how you do it in the moment. Permanent success is determined by who you are as a person.
5. Do I display the behaviour I want my child to exhibit?
Average parents tell their kids what to do, smart parents show their kids what to do. Smart parents know it is more impactful to set an example for their children and let them learn watching how their parents talk, walk and behave. That is being a role model for their children.
6. Do I think my children’s success is also my success?
It is far too often that parents impose their idea of success on their children. Somewhere along the line, they start measuring their own success by the success achieved by their children. This can be extremely unhealthy for both the kids and the parents. It is difficult to measure success and harder to define it. Smart parent set their own definition of success and allow their children to define their own.
7. Do I teach with love?
Remember how you used to cajole and explain things to your kids whenever they made a mistake? That changes fast as they grow up and mistakes are responded to with annoyance and strict discipline. This makes the child feel that they have disappointed their parents and they do not love them at that moment. It is important to show our kids our love for them is constant and unconditional. This is why smart parents end talks with love.
8. Do I praise them enough? Do I support them fully?
While making sure we teach our children what is necessary, often we miss out on expressing our love or praising them. Many students I have spoken to have said that they feel worthy of praise only when they achieve something; because only that is when parents praise them. Children need to know that as parents we support them and love them fully.
9. Do I handle situations well?
Children have a tendency to become the people others view them as. So if you view them as naughty children, they will turn to mischief. If you view them as good kids, they will ensure they are well behaved. This is an important point to remember whenever we are reacting to any mischief done by our kids. Average parents react with negative comments and punishment. Smart parents respond by reaffirming that their kids are good but express surprise at what they have done. When kids see that their parents view them as good people, they strive to live up to that belief.
10. If I was in my child’s shoes, what would I think of my parenting style?
Every parent continues to think they are the best parent in the world until they start looking from the perspective of their kids. This helps you become more aware of the things you should be doing, the things you should stop doing and any misconceptions your child might have about your style of parenting. For example, one common misconception children have is that we discipline them out of anger. Understanding that kids think like this enables us to show them that, as parents, we discipline out of love not anger or hate.
You must have noticed already, that, every question is focused on removing your wants and needs from being projected on your kids to extracting what they desire out of their lives. Once you start asking these questions, you will truly start to see them grow up as capable, bright and emotionally healthy individuals.
About The Author
A Gen-Z parent, study skill and Habit coach for students and author of “Toppers’ study hacks”, “Success blueprint for competitive exams” and “How to raise a topper”, Avinash Agarwal has been working in the area of mentoring for over 15 years. Interviews with hundreds of toppers who have cracked different competitive exams have led him to understand the topper mindset. He believes that every child can be a topper and through his sessions aims to teach powerful study strategies and techniques to students so that they can pursue their dreams.