We parents want our kids to be strong, brave, and sure of themselves. But how do we begin?
1. Teach kids how to fix things
Robert Stephens started Geek Squad, a company that fixes computers when he was 24 years old. He later sold the company for $3 million.
When Robert was young, he opened all the doors in his parent’s house because he was curious about how things began. He told me, “They’re not mad. They just say I have to put them back.”
Soon, everyone in the family knew him as the one who could fix things. “To study, I took a separate radio. “Robert can fix anything,” people would say. It made me feel proud and good about myself.
Fixing things can help kids learn how to make decisions and solve problems. If you need to fix something around the house, like a broken light bulb or a faucet that leaks, use it as a chance to teach your child.
You can also say that you don’t know how to fix something. It’s just as important to know where to find the right information as it is to know it from the start.
2. How to teach your child any skill in four steps
You help them out.
They do it with you.
You see what they do.
They do it themselves.
3. When it comes to parenting, there are two things that matter:
Love and chores.
The longest study on people shows that those who did well in their careers did chores as kids (or had a part-time job in high school). Why? Kids learn how to work by doing chores. They learn to roll up their sleeves, help out, and do what needs to be done, even if it’s not fun, to make the whole better. This is what helps them get ahead at work.
Love seems obvious, but we tend to show our kids conditional love instead of unconditional love. We love them when they do things that make us happy (we love them no matter what). You want someone to love you no matter what, right? Well, so does your kid.
4. Gave them the courage to deal with big, real problems
Jessica Jackley is one of the people who started Kiva. Kiva is a peer-to-peer lending platform that has helped small businesses get more than $1 billion in microfinance loans.
“Every day, my mom gave me more faith in myself. She told me I could do anything I wanted, even if it seemed impossible or too big. And we talked in very specific ways about different ways to be a leader,” she said.
They also had a rule that said they should never be bored. “We always learned things, played games, went on little adventures, and explored together. This taught me to be proactive and look for opportunities, which helped me become an entrepreneur.
5. They asked the hard questions
Ellen Gustafson started FEED Projects with other people in 2007. The group sells bags and other items to raise money for school lunches. She is now a leader in the field of social innovation.
Ellen’s mother, Maura, says that one rule of parenting has helped her daughter do well: “Don’t make decisions for your children.”
Maura didn’t tell Ellen what to do all the time. Instead, she encouraged her to be independent and think for herself. “Asking them questions is the best way to do that,” she said.
Let’s say your child went outside when there was a storm. You could:
- “You put yourself in a very dangerous situation. How did you break it down?”
- “What made you decide to do what you did?”
- “Did you learn anything from this that would make you look at risks differently the next time?”