How to be a good parent and raise successful kids

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Ann-Louise T. Lockhart, PsyD, ABPP, is a board-certified pediatric psychologist, parent coach, author, speaker, and owner of A New Day Pediatric Psychology, PLLC.

How to be a good parent and raise successful kids

Many parents focus attention on their children’s grades and extracurricular activities, such as by making sure kids study, do their homework, and get to soccer practice or dance lessons on time. But all too often, we forget to put time and effort into nurturing another component of child success and development—one that is just as important, and perhaps even more essential—being a good person.

It can be easy to forget the importance of countering the pervasive messages of instant gratification, consumerism, and selfishness prevalent in our society.

If we want to raise children who are genuinely nice people, we can help guide our kids toward habits and behaviors that promote positive character traits like kindness, generosity, and empathy for those who are less advantaged or who need help.

As C.S. Lewis famously said, “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” How can we raise a good child, one who will do the right thing, even when no one may see them do it, and when there may be no reward? While there is no guaranteed formula (if only!), here are some ways parents can build good character and help their child grow into a good person.

Nurture Empathy in Your Child

Emotional intelligence and empathy, or the ability to put oneself in someone else’s shoes and consider their feelings and thoughts, is one of the most fundamental traits in good people. Studies have shown that having a high emotional quotient—that is, being able to understand one’s own feelings and the feelings of others—is an important component of success in life.  

To encourage empathy in your child, encourage your child to talk about her feelings and make sure she knows that you care about them. When a conflict occurs with a friend, ask her to imagine how her friend might be feeling and show her ways of managing her emotions and work positively toward a resolution.

Encourage Them to Lift Up Others

While stories about kids engaging in bullying and other bad behavior often make headlines, the truth is that many kids quietly perform good deeds in the ordinary course of their lives, whether it’s making a friend feel better when he’s down or pitching in at a community center.

As you encourage positive behaviors such as doing something to make someone’s day better (even something as small as patting a friend on the shoulder when they’re sad), be sure to talk about what negative effects behaviors like gossiping or bullying have on both sides (both those who are bullied and those who do the bullying), and why and how it hurts people.

Teach Them to Volunteer

Whether your child helps an elderly neighbor by shoveling the sidewalk or helps you pack some canned goods into boxes for donation to family shelters, the act of volunteering can shape your child’s character. When kids help others, they learn to think about the needs of those less fortunate than they are, and can feel proud of themselves for making a difference in others’ lives.

Offer Rewards Sparingly

An important thing to remember when encouraging kids to help others is to not reward them for every single good deed. That way, your child won’t associate volunteering with getting things for himself and will learn that feeling good about helping others will be in itself a reward.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t occasionally take your child out for a special treat or give them a gift for helping others AND for working hard and studying hard.

Kids love encouragement and thrive on parents’ approval. An occasional reward is a great way to show him how thankful you are for the good things he does.

Teach Them Good Manners

Does your child routinely practice the fundamentals of good manners such as saying “Thank you” and “Please”? Does she speak in a polite manner to people and address elders as “Mr.” and Ms.”? Does she know how to greet people properly, and is she familiar with the basics of good table manners? Is she a gracious loser when she plays a game with friends?

Remember that you are raising a person who will go out into the world and interact with others for the rest of her life. (And this little person, as she grows, will be at the dinner table with you and interacting with you every day until she leaves the nest.) You can play an important role in shaping how well-mannered your child will be.

Treat Them With Kindness and Respect

The most effective way to get kids to speak to you and to others in a respectful way and to interact with others in a nice manner is by doing exactly that yourself when you interact with your child. Think about how you speak to your child.

Do you speak harshly when you’re not happy about something? Do you ever yell or say things that are not nice? Consider your own way of speaking, acting, and even thinking, and try to choose a friendly and polite tone and manner with your child, even when you are talking to him about a mistake or misbehavior.

Discipline Your Child Consistently

Parents who hold back on giving children boundaries or firmly (but lovingly) correcting bad behavior may actually be harming their child with good intentions. Children who are not disciplined are unpleasant, selfish, and surprisingly unhappy.

Some of the many reasons why we need to discipline include the fact that children who are given clear rules, boundaries, and expectations are responsible, more self-sufficient, are more likely to make good choices and are more likely to make friends and be happy. As soon as you see behavior problems such as lying or backtalk, handle them with love, understanding, and firmness.

Teach Them to Be Thankful

Teaching your child how to be grateful and how to express that gratitude is a key component of raising a good child. Whether it’s for a meal you’ve prepared for dinner or for a birthday gift from Grandma and Grandpa, teach your child to say thank you. For things like gifts for birthdays and holidays, be sure your child gets into the habit of writing thank you cards.

Give Them Responsibilities

When children have an expected list of age-appropriate chores to do at home, such as helping set the table or sweeping the floor, they gain a sense of responsibility and accomplishment. Doing a good job and feeling like they are contributing to the good of the household can make kids feel proud of themselves, and help them become happier.

Model Good Behavior

Consider how you interact with others, even when your child isn’t watching. Do you say “Thank you” to the checkout clerk at the market? Do you steer clear of gossip about neighbors or co-workers? Do you use a friendly tone when addressing waiters? It goes without saying that you directly influence how your children will be. If you want to raise a good child, conduct yourself in the way you want your child to act.

How to be a good parent and raise successful kids

Good parenting qualities are characteristics that any parent can develop and use to raise happy, successful, well-adjusted kids. Parenting characteristics are learned. They don’t magically appear to only a few moms and dads who have a gift or a store of secret knowledge. Qualities of good parenting are attitudes and actions used every day in interacting with kids and helping them mature.

Parenting is a skill. The attitudes and actions that make up good parenting qualities are learned and developed over time, from birth to adulthood and all the ever-changing stages in between. As with all other areas of life, no one has every skill. We have strong skills and not-so-strong ones. This means that as a parent, you already have strong skills, and you can learn and build other skills. Developing good parenting qualities, traits, and skills will allow you to parent your children in a positive manner that fits with your values.

Every parent, every child, and every family is unique with different parenting styles and parenting goals; therefore, there isn’t one simple formula for good parenting qualities. You’ll pick and choose skills and character traits that resonate with you and let them guide you. One concept, though, is universal: good parenting focuses not on what the parent wants their kids to be like but on nurturing them to explore and grow into the person they want to be.

Nurturing and encouraging kids to develop who they involve both parenting skills and parental character traits.

Good Parenting Qualities: Skills to Learn and Use

The following attributes are behaviors and actions—things that parents do or provide that encompass good parenting:

Outwardly express love, caring, affection

Studies show that providing guidance in a loving, affectionate way is the most important quality of good parenting. Encourage, nurture, show affection with words and actions, praise kids’ actions and achievement. This will let them know that you love them no matter what.

Communicate genuinely and clearly

Communication is a broad category that includes expressing interest in kids, explaining rules and their consequences, listening to them with your full attention, and more. Your body language talks to kids as much as or more than your actual words. No matter what you’re doing, including disciplining, your communication should tell kids that you value them.

Demonstrate understanding (rather than arguing with kids or lecturing them)

When kids are upset for any reason, you don’t have to fix things, and you certainly don’t have to give in if they’re upset with your consequence. Reflecting how they’re feeling or asking them to tell you about what happened won’t change the situation, but it will help kids process it in a healthy way, including accepting negative consequences for their actions.

Maintain consistency

Children need to know that they can trust that rules and routines will stay the same from day-to-day. This builds a sense of security and confidence.

Foster independence and development of passions

A newborn is entirely dependent on parents for survival. As babies reach developmental milestones (well before age one), they are already moving toward partial independence. Giving kids choices and letting them do age-appropriate activities by themselves helps them develop healthy self-confidence and a belief they can accomplish things and meet goals.

Nurturing their independence also helps them identify and develop passions. Let them choose activities to do, and give them appropriate leeway to explore on their own. Rock climbing classes? Cooking or baking? Let them decide.

Good Parenting Characteristics: Ways to Be with Your Kids

Good parenting also involves parental character traits. These traits are inner qualities such as attitudes, values, and motivations. Even though these aren’t behaviors and skills that can be practiced, they can be enhanced by acting in ways that are consistent with them.

  • Patience
  • Empathy
  • Love
  • Sense of humor
  • Curiosity
  • Creativity
  • Flexibility

A final characteristic of good parenting is that mothers and fathers who use good parenting qualities and skills know that they are role models for their children. What you do makes an impression on your kids. When you use the above skills and demonstrate the character traits, kids notice and they emulate your actions and qualities. You can practice good parenting for your kids simply by developing the characteristics and using them. Be the way you want your kids to be, and do what you want them to do.

Unfortunately, there is no catch-all guide that guarantees your little one’s future achievements, but here’s how to set the pace for your kid’s success both in and out of school.

One of the toughest realities you grapple with as a parent is understanding that your child’s success is ultimately in their control and out of yours. While, unfortunately, there is no definitive guide to ensure you’re raising successful children, your influence on them can have more concrete effects than you think.

Here are a few ways to help your kid find that road to success both in and out of school, according to experts.

Have Conversations From Infancy

Strong communication skills open up a breadth of lifelong opportunities for your child and encourage them as students and leaders in their chosen field. Fostering this ability, however, doesn’t need to wait until your child says his or her first words.

Researchers at the University of Iowa have found that even infants can engage in the call-and-response of everyday conversation.

  • RELATED:Small Talk: How to Get Your Kid to Chat About Her Day

“It’s like a dance—there’s a thing that kids seem to learn around 6 to 8 months of age—the simple move that you take turns talking,” says Peter M. Vishton, Ph.D., director of the National Science Foundation’s Developmental Sciences Program, which funded this study. “It’s babbling, but it follows that piece of the language dance.”

A joint study at MIT, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania took that correlation a step further. It found that children ages 4 to 6 who effectively engaged in conversation back and forth had more activation in Broca’s area, a section of the brain linked to speech production.

Further still, these kids with a more active Broca’s area performed better on tests spanning language arts concepts. By encouraging conversation even from an early age, you can help your child not only acquire language quicker but also promote critical brain development.

Think Critically About Their Media Diet

Screen time is often painted the enemy of success, linked to trouble in school, obesity, and less effective social interaction. This impact on a child, however, highlights more what they’re missing out on while tuning in.

  • RELATED:How to Teach Kids to Spot Fake News

“It’s not so much that the TV is toxic in any way, it’s that if they are spending an hour watching TV, they’re spending an hour not doing the things that stimulate their development,” says Dr. Vishton.

For young viewers, tune in to shows that are the exception to the rule. Sesame Street is the gold standard of educational television, consulting experts and pint-sized focus groups to assure their audiences learn the intended subject of each segment. If you’re curious if your child’s favorite show has done similar research, take a look at their website, as they will usually broadcast this information.

Make Sure They Get Enough Sleep

For your children, not only the amount of sleep they get but also the consistency of their sleep schedule factors into their success. Regular naps, for example, are essential for your toddler’s ability to apply new language concepts in an abstract way.

In a study by Rebecca Gomez at the University of Arizona, her team found that children who napped within four hours of learning a new word or grammatical rule were more likely to generalize it the next day. Eighteen-month-olds can even learn rules and apply them in entirely new sentences if a nap follows, but they will fail to do so if they remain awake.

  • RELATED:The 7 Reasons Your Kid Needs Sleep

Sleep’s necessity only escalates as your child grows. The brain by 30 months matures enough to allow neural replay—your mind’s way of taking stock of new learning while you sleep and storing it in your memory. As your child starts elementary school, they will need around nine to 11 hours of sleep a night to make the most of what they learned in the classroom the previous day.

Teach Them to Value the Process

At Holy Redeemer Catholic School in Johns Creek, Georgia, Principal Lauren Schell sees success in students that value the learning process as much as the grade.

“Children tend to reach for the quick reward, but school success often involves sustained effort and delayed gratification,” she says. “As parents, we need to help the maturing child with this process.”

Building a routine and setting expectations for your child to follow will help them to understand the benefits of time management and consistency. Your expectations will become their own as they mature and see the rewards of their efforts over time, whether they’re studying hard for a tough class or simply cleaning their room.

Encourage Pretend Play

Playing pretend is the cornerstone of early childhood existence, from playing house to making a new imaginary friend. While you’ll think back at those times as sweet moments of nostalgia from that era of their childhood, the mental development your child experiences from pretend play will follow them throughout their lives.

  • RELATED:Want to Raise a Creative Thinker? Letting Them Play is Key

Developmental scientists like Dr. Vishton often say that “play is the work of young children.” As they adopt particular roles, build out their imaginary world, and invite their friends to participate in the journey they’ve established, children learn to be more creative, have better long-term communication, and mature their problem-solving skills.

Build a Support System at School

As your child graduates to elementary school, their worldview expands to hours spent in the classroom. Their teachers, in particular, have a strong influence on their growth, bringing with them a wealth of experience and professional understanding of developmental and educational milestones and expectations.

Combined with your superior knowledge of your child and their needs, school and home can work together to foster their success as they progress from grade-to-grade.

“The skillset of the teachers and staff in a school and the personal knowledge that a parent has of a child’s personality and strengths is a powerful combination that benefits all children,” says Schell. “When we listen to and respect the insights of one another, we form a support system for the child, the family, and the school.”

How to be a good parent and raise successful kids

Much has been written about the attributes of high-achieving adults, and what makes them different from everyone else. But if you’re a parent, a more compelling question may be: “What can I do to make sure my kids succeed in life?” Here’s what researchers say.

1. Don’t tell them they can be anything they want.

According a survey of 400 teenagers, conducted by market research agency C+R Research, young Americans aren’t interested in doing the work that will need to be done in the years to come. Instead, they aspire to be musicians, athletes, or video game designers, even though these kinds of jobs only comprise 1 percent of American occupations. In reality, jobs in health care or in construction trades will be golden in future decades. Why not steer them into well-paying professions in which there will be a huge shortage of workers?

2. Eat dinner as a family.

According to a nonprofit organization operating out of Harvard University, kids who eat with their families roughly five days a week exhibit lower levels of substance abuse, teen pregnancy, obesity, and depression. They also have higher grade-point averages, better vocabularies, and more self-esteem.

3. Enforce no-screen time.

Researchers have found that the brains of little kids can be permanently altered when they spend too much time using tablets and smartphones. Specifically, the development of certain abilities is impeded, including focus and attention, vocabulary, and social skills. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says children younger than 18 months should have no screen time at all, other than video-chatting. For kids ages two to five, it recommends limiting screen time to one hour a day. For older kids, it’s a matter of making sure media doesn’t take the place of adequate sleep, exercise, and social interaction. The AAP also says parents should make the dinner table, the car, and bedrooms media-free zones.

4. Work outside the home.

There are certainly familial benefits to having a stay-at-home mother, but researchers at Harvard Business School have found that when moms work outside the home, their daughters are more likely to be employed themselves, hold supervisory roles, and make more money than peers whose mothers did not have careers.

5. Make them work.

In a 2015 TED Talk, Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult and the former dean of freshman at Stanford University, cites the Harvard Grant Study, which found that the participants who achieved the greatest professional success did chores as a child.

6. Delay gratification.

The classic Marshmallow Experiment of 1972 involved placing a marshmallow in front of a young child, with the promise of a second marshmallow if he or she could refrain from eating the squishy blob while a researcher stepped out of the room for 15 minutes. Follow-up studies over the next 40 years found that the children who were able to resist the temptation to eat the marshmallow grew up to be people with better social skills, higher test scores, and a lower incidence of substance abuse. They also turned out to be less obese and better able to deal with stress. To help kids build this skill, train them to have habits that must be accomplished every day–even when they don’t feel like doing them.

“Top performers in every field–athletes, musicians, CEOs, artists–are all more consistent than their peers,” writes James Clear, an author and speaker who studies the habits of successful people. “They show up and deliver day after day while everyone else gets bogged down with the urgencies of daily life and fights a constant battle between procrastination and motivation.”

7. Read to them.

Researchers at the New York University School of Medicine have found that babies whose parents read to them have better language, literacy, and early reading skills four years later before starting elementary school. And kids who like books when they’re little grow into people who read for fun later on, which has its own set of benefits. That’s according to Dr. Alice Sullivan, who uses the British Cohort Study to track various aspects of 17,000 people in the U.K. “We compared children from the same social backgrounds who achieved similar tested abilities at ages five and 10, and discovered that those who frequently read books at age 10 and more than once a week when they were 16 had higher test results than those who read less,” she writes for The Guardian. “In other words, reading for pleasure was linked to greater intellectual progress, in vocabulary, spelling, and mathematics.”

8. Encourage them to travel.

The Student and Youth Travel Association (SYTA) surveyed 1,432 U.S. teachers who credit international travel, in particular, with affecting students in a myriad of good ways:

  • Desire to travel more (76%)
  • Increased tolerance of other cultures and ethnicities (74%)
  • Increased willingness to know/learn/explore (73%)
  • Increased willingness to try different foods (70%)
  • Increased independence, self-esteem, and confidence (69%)
  • More intellectual curiosity (69%)
  • Increased tolerance and respectfulness (66%)
  • Better adaptability and sensitivity (66%)
  • Being more outgoing (51%)
  • Better self-expression (51%)
  • Increased attractiveness to college admissions (42%)

If sending your son or daughter abroad or bringing them with you overseas isn’t feasible, take heart. The survey also asked teachers about domestic travel and found similar benefits for students.

9. Let them fail.

While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s one of the best things a parent can do. According to Dr. Stephanie O’Leary, a clinical psychologist specializing in neuropsychology and author of Parenting in the Real World: The Rules Have Changed, failure is good for kids on several levels. First, experiencing failure helps your child learn to cope, a skill that’s certainly needed in the real world. It also provides him or her with the life experience needed to relate to peers in a genuine way. Being challenged also instills the need for hard work and sustained efforts, and also demonstrates that these traits are valuable even without the blue ribbon, gold star, or top score. Over time, children who have experienced defeat will build resilience and be more willing to attempt difficult tasks and activities because they are not afraid to fail. And, she says, rescuing your child sends the message that you don’t trust him or her. “Your willingness to see your child struggle communicates that you believe they are capable and that they can handle any outcome, even a negative one,” she says.

The stress of juggling childrearing responsibilities with the demands of work takes a toll on many parents’ personal and professional lives. Over 50% of all employees report that job demands interfere with their personal responsibilities, while 43% of employees say that their family responsibilities interfere with their work performance, according to a 2007 study from the American Psychological Association. Often, there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done and meet everyone’s needs.

While managing a career and family leaves some parents feeling guilty and frazzled, others seem to be able to effortlessly balance parenthood with full-time work. Parents who are able to raise well-adjusted children while also maintaining a career have to make sacrifices in order to keep the peace. Here are the five things many parents give up to achieve a successful work-life balance:

1. Their Pride About Asking for Help

Even in today’s world, it takes a village to raise a child. Asking for help requires humility, but seeking support can be one of the biggest keys to success. This is especially true for single parents. Successful parents don’t necessarily depend on others, but are often willing to trade favors. For example, they may ask for help driving the kids to soccer practice in exchange for taking over weekend carpool duties for other busy families. When parents arrange for assistance that ensures their kids are being cared for, they’re able to be more productive at work

2. The Belief That They Need to Split Their Time Equally

Achieving a balance between career and children doesn’t necessarily mean the time is split evenly. Successful parents understand that there will be times when their family will need more attention and times when a career will demand more energy. They don’t try to divide the time equally and fairly. Instead, they remain flexible. They evaluate their progress and determine where they need to devote their attention on a regular basis. When their work-life balance seems off-kilter, they readjust to meet the demand.

3. The Idea That They Have to Neglect Themselves

There’s a reason why airlines say that in the event of an emergency you should put your oxygen mask on first, before assisting anyone else. If you don’t take care of yourself first, you won’t have anything left to give. When you’re feeling overtired and stretched too thin, it may seem incomprehensible to squeeze in a little “me time.” But, the fact is, those times when you feel like you can’t possibly spare a minute for yourself, are likely the times when you need “me time” the most.

Successful parents know that taking care of themselves helps their efficiency and productivity over the long-term. Although it’s important to get plenty of sleep and relaxation, exercise may be even more important. Engaging in daily physical activity won’t only improve your health, but it can also be the key to maintaining a balance between home and work, according to a research study that is about to be published in Human Resource Management.

4. The Desire To Always Make Their Kids Happy

Parents who achieve a successful work-life balance don’t live and breathe to make their kids happy. Instead, they strive to raise responsible children that will grow to become responsible adults. They’re willing to ask kids to help out around the house. They assign chores and teach responsibility without nagging or yelling. They establish clear consequences and aren’t afraid to follow through with them. They role model hard work and allow their children to experience disappointment.

5. The Guilt They Experience About Working

Many parents would rather not work full-time, but for many families it just isn’t an option for one parent to stay home. About 44% of full-time working mothers report their ideal situation would be to work part-time, according a 2012 study by the Pew Research Center. However, working part-time just isn’t financially feasible for many families. Parents who successfully balance their work and home life, don’t waste time and energy on guilt over the fact that they’re working. Instead, they either work on a plan to solve the problem – like work flexible hours – or they accept that they’ll need to maintain a full-time job while raising children.

Parents who successfully balance parenting and work understand that making their children a priority sometimes means working hard to meet their children’s needs. The reality is, many parents have to work to pay the bills. However, it is possible for working parents to still be quality parents. Successful parents focus their spare time and energy on raising the children – not wishing they didn’t have to work.

Amy Morin is a psychotherapist and the author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.

Amy Morin is a psychotherapist and the international bestselling author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do and 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do. Her…

Unfortunately, there is no catch-all guide that guarantees your little one’s future achievements, but here’s how to set the pace for your kid’s success both in and out of school.

One of the toughest realities you grapple with as a parent is understanding that your child’s success is ultimately in their control and out of yours. While, unfortunately, there is no definitive guide to ensure you’re raising successful children, your influence on them can have more concrete effects than you think.

Here are a few ways to help your kid find that road to success both in and out of school, according to experts.

Have Conversations From Infancy

Strong communication skills open up a breadth of lifelong opportunities for your child and encourage them as students and leaders in their chosen field. Fostering this ability, however, doesn’t need to wait until your child says his or her first words.

Researchers at the University of Iowa have found that even infants can engage in the call-and-response of everyday conversation.

  • RELATED:Small Talk: How to Get Your Kid to Chat About Her Day

“It’s like a dance—there’s a thing that kids seem to learn around 6 to 8 months of age—the simple move that you take turns talking,” says Peter M. Vishton, Ph.D., director of the National Science Foundation’s Developmental Sciences Program, which funded this study. “It’s babbling, but it follows that piece of the language dance.”

A joint study at MIT, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania took that correlation a step further. It found that children ages 4 to 6 who effectively engaged in conversation back and forth had more activation in Broca’s area, a section of the brain linked to speech production.

Further still, these kids with a more active Broca’s area performed better on tests spanning language arts concepts. By encouraging conversation even from an early age, you can help your child not only acquire language quicker but also promote critical brain development.

Think Critically About Their Media Diet

Screen time is often painted the enemy of success, linked to trouble in school, obesity, and less effective social interaction. This impact on a child, however, highlights more what they’re missing out on while tuning in.

  • RELATED:How to Teach Kids to Spot Fake News

“It’s not so much that the TV is toxic in any way, it’s that if they are spending an hour watching TV, they’re spending an hour not doing the things that stimulate their development,” says Dr. Vishton.

For young viewers, tune in to shows that are the exception to the rule. Sesame Street is the gold standard of educational television, consulting experts and pint-sized focus groups to assure their audiences learn the intended subject of each segment. If you’re curious if your child’s favorite show has done similar research, take a look at their website, as they will usually broadcast this information.

Make Sure They Get Enough Sleep

For your children, not only the amount of sleep they get but also the consistency of their sleep schedule factors into their success. Regular naps, for example, are essential for your toddler’s ability to apply new language concepts in an abstract way.

In a study by Rebecca Gomez at the University of Arizona, her team found that children who napped within four hours of learning a new word or grammatical rule were more likely to generalize it the next day. Eighteen-month-olds can even learn rules and apply them in entirely new sentences if a nap follows, but they will fail to do so if they remain awake.

  • RELATED:The 7 Reasons Your Kid Needs Sleep

Sleep’s necessity only escalates as your child grows. The brain by 30 months matures enough to allow neural replay—your mind’s way of taking stock of new learning while you sleep and storing it in your memory. As your child starts elementary school, they will need around nine to 11 hours of sleep a night to make the most of what they learned in the classroom the previous day.

Teach Them to Value the Process

At Holy Redeemer Catholic School in Johns Creek, Georgia, Principal Lauren Schell sees success in students that value the learning process as much as the grade.

“Children tend to reach for the quick reward, but school success often involves sustained effort and delayed gratification,” she says. “As parents, we need to help the maturing child with this process.”

Building a routine and setting expectations for your child to follow will help them to understand the benefits of time management and consistency. Your expectations will become their own as they mature and see the rewards of their efforts over time, whether they’re studying hard for a tough class or simply cleaning their room.

Encourage Pretend Play

Playing pretend is the cornerstone of early childhood existence, from playing house to making a new imaginary friend. While you’ll think back at those times as sweet moments of nostalgia from that era of their childhood, the mental development your child experiences from pretend play will follow them throughout their lives.

  • RELATED:Want to Raise a Creative Thinker? Letting Them Play is Key

Developmental scientists like Dr. Vishton often say that “play is the work of young children.” As they adopt particular roles, build out their imaginary world, and invite their friends to participate in the journey they’ve established, children learn to be more creative, have better long-term communication, and mature their problem-solving skills.

Build a Support System at School

As your child graduates to elementary school, their worldview expands to hours spent in the classroom. Their teachers, in particular, have a strong influence on their growth, bringing with them a wealth of experience and professional understanding of developmental and educational milestones and expectations.

Combined with your superior knowledge of your child and their needs, school and home can work together to foster their success as they progress from grade-to-grade.

“The skillset of the teachers and staff in a school and the personal knowledge that a parent has of a child’s personality and strengths is a powerful combination that benefits all children,” says Schell. “When we listen to and respect the insights of one another, we form a support system for the child, the family, and the school.”

Home » Parenting » Harvard Psychologists Say: Parents Who Raise ‘Good’ Kids, Do These 5 Things!

How to be a good parent and raise successful kids

Today’s kids are primarily affected by the technology around them, which has also changed the way they think, act and communicate. These new behaviors can be very challenging to parents, who did not grow up with this kind of technology.

All the parents are asking themselves if they are raising their kid in the right way. “Will my child become a successful person with ambition? Will they become a role model or a leader? Will they live a happy life?”The parents are facing many challenges – one of these is the fact, that nowadays children are brought up in different ways than their parents were in their childhood.

Psychologists from Harvard University have put together a list of elements that are suggested to be the key to raising a healthy and prosperous child in today’s world. Although these items are quite simple, they are significant to remember.

So, here are the five critical steps for parents to take!

1. Spend Quality Time

How to be a good parent and raise successful kids

Be there. Not just physically, but also emotionally. Listening to your child and making conversations helps you to bond with each other. Also, turn off all the electronics and give them your time without any disturbance. Doing things together will teach your child to be a more caring and considerate person.

Practical things you can do:

  • Play their favorite game together
  • Read them a book
  • Ask them questions about their day

2. Become A Role Model

How to be a good parent and raise successful kids

Children learn from things they see and experience. Many parents may not notice how much of their behavior young kids see and understand. This is why you should think about your words and actions. When you make mistakes, admit them and apologize. Be the example you want your child to become.

Another important thing is respect, which can only be earned. So always be honest, show that you are a human too and people make mistakes. Also, try to see everything as a lesson and a chance to grow and become a better person. Teach this to your child as well.

Always admit your mistakes and apologize for them Practical things you can do:

  • Talk about problems and finding solutions
  • Find time to take care of yourself, only then you can take care of others

3. Teach Them Values

How to be a good parent and raise successful kids

It is important that your child communicates with others and learns to share in the young age. Taking other peoples’ feelings into consideration and being selfless is an essential feature and can become beneficial in the future.

The Harvard study found that caring about others is as important as one’s happiness. This is something that parents need to teach their children consistently because sometimes the message is not received quickly.

As a parent, you must always be an example. This means taking responsibility and doing the right thing (even when it is not the most convenient thing to do). Be a role model and confirm your words with your actions. Remind them, that others are counting on them and it is not nice to let people down.

Practical things you can do:

  • Teach them every day to be kind
  • Make them take responsibility for their actions and stick to their commitments. Do not just let them quit a sport or end a friendship. It is always easier to just give up, but it is not always the right thing to do.

4. Teach Them Gratitude

How to be a good parent and raise successful kids

Teach them to appreciate people and things in their life. Tell them about the history and trying times, so they would understand how lucky they are to live in this time with plenty of opportunities. Teach them not to take their life and possibilities for granted.

The study has shown, that people, who practice gratitude in their everyday lives, are more helpful, generous, compassionate and forgiving. What is most important – they are more happy and healthy. So it is a critical feature in a real person.

Practical things you can do:

  • Remind your child to be grateful for everyday life
  • Teach them to show respect and appreciation for people (family members, teachers, neighbors) in their lives
  • Be the role model and do not take individuals and things in your life for granted

5. Show Them The Bigger Picture

How to be a good parent and raise successful kids

It is a commonly known fact that children care about a small circle of family and friends. This is normal, but the difficult challenge is to teach them to empathize with people outside their circle.

Children need to learn that it all starts with people and that they can make a big difference in someone’s life. So it is important to show kindness towards people you do not know so well (new kid in class, the shopkeeper, the cleaning lady).

The Harvard study suggested that children should learn to zoom in and listen carefully to those, who are part of their inner circle but also to zoom out and take in consideration the bigger range of people they interact with on a daily basis.

Practical things you can do:

  • Teach your child empathy – teach them to comfort a crying kid and reach out to a new classmate
  • Have conversations with different people and their lives. Talk about people with different religions, beliefs, communities, and countries
  • Teach them not to have prejudices and to show kindness to people around them

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How to be a good parent and raise successful kids

What does it mean to be a good parent? The answer is, it depends. Different people have different views about it. So, it is difficult to be a good parent in front of the society. Also, why do you need to satisfy the society? They will certainly criticize you for whatever you do. So, the key is to keep the society out of your business. If you want to raise your kids to be successful, you have to prioritize things. How to? Let’s see!

What is success?: The most important thing is to tell them what is a success. They should not get the wrong idea like it’s all about making money or something. Tell them, it is about being successful at whatever they are doing, like painting, singing, etc.

Let them choose: Please realize that your kids are not your wish-granting factories (Like ‘Augustus Waters’ says in ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, “the world is not a wish-granting factory, Hazel.”) Let them choose their careers if they are old enough to decide. But that differs according to different children. Some become mature enough to decide that, much earlier than the others. There are many success stories, where the people had chosen their career when they were six. Most importantly, ending up with the wrong career can lead them to depression.

Develop their interests: If your kids show an interest in any kind of activity, help them develop it. This will pave a really good way for them if they take up this activity in the future as their career.

No teasing: No matter what, do not tease them for their failures. But be a good critic. Tell them, where they had made mistakes and help them correct it, in a peaceful manner. Also, don’t forget to praise them for their good performances.

Always be there for them: Let them know that you will be there for them, no matter what. Let them know that life is kind of like a game where everyone will meet failure and success many times.

Change your perspective, parents. It is time to change!

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How to be a good parent and raise successful kids

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How to be a good parent and raise successful kids

How to be a good parent and raise successful kids

Decades of research and studies consistently show that same-sex parenting stands to benefit children in a number of ways.

After a decades long fight, the 2015 Supreme Court ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges declared marriage, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, a constitutional right once and for all. Fomenting a considerable rise in same-sex marriages around the United States, the historic ruling marked a landmark victory for the LGBTQ community.

This overdue recognition, however, also brought to light persistent discriminatory beliefs that surround other aspects of queer domestic life. Queer parenting — whether by adoption or natural birth — remains a topic of much discussion, politicized by conservatives and colored by widespread misconceptions.

Thankfully, the data is here: queer parents aren’t so different from their heterosexual counterparts — and where they do diverge, the children of LGBTQ parents are actually better off.

The Facts About LGBT Parents

While studies about queer parenting are still new, most research indicates that there is no difference in outcomes between the children of LGBT parents and the children of heterosexual parents. Studies have found that the children of same-gendered parents are no more prone to psychiatric disorders and are equally likely to excel in school both academically and socially.

And where there are discrepancies, the findings indicate that the children of LGBT parents may in fact be better off. One noted difference? The children of queer parents have been found to have more flexible attitudes toward gender roles, both in regard to the division of labor within the home and the careers to which they’re drawn.

Indeed, outliers in the data that suggest negative differences have been routinely debunked. Largely funded by organizations with known anti-LGBTQ agendas, these “studies” have not been focused on standard, healthy, two-parent families, but instead highlight queer families undergoing divorce or other familial trauma — circumstances known to predict negative outcomes for children regardless of parental identities.

One contentious piece of the queer parenting debate that remains is the question of whether gay parents are more likely to raise a gay child — and there is some evidence to suggest that a correlation exists. It’s impossible to know this conclusively, however, as the children of gay parents may simply be more comfortable expressing their LGBTQ identity than their counterparts who were raised in heteronormative environments. And if your first thought was that such a correlation is a negative thing, check your internalized homophobia.

The Next Generation

Children of LGBT parents end up reaping the benefits of their upbringing later in life, too. Ultimately, they grow up to have more diverse and queer-friendly social circles, and are more likely to be working in fields like social justice. Both of these traits indicate that children of queer parents are more accepting and empathetic.

For anyone who has an interest in this area of research, it’s helpful to remember that good parenting is influenced most profoundly by a parent’s ability to create a loving and nurturing home — an ability that does not depend on sexual orientation or gender identity.