As a parent, you want to raise your children to be resilient, bright, happy, and successful. You envision their lives to be filled with a great education at a top school, fulfilling career opportunities, maybe families of their own, and an overall life that is well-rounded and enjoyable. And that’s just the short list of the countless things I’m sure you could think of as a parent. It’s tough work raising a human that will go out into the world and not only do great things but be a great person.
So, how do you raise children that will be successful and thrive in the world? There’s a lot of advice out there, but these four parenting tips come from parents of high-achieving people. People who have stepped confidently into entrepreneurship and built their own vision.
It’s hard to know what exactly will lead to confident and thriving kids, but this advice from the mom of Susan and Anne Wojcicki is insightful. Esther says she gave her daughters extreme independence. While some may not be comfortable with the amount of independence Susan and Anne had as children, like flying solo at five years old to visit their grandmother, feeling like they were trusted made them develop confidence and a sense of responsibility. Considering that Susan and Anne both went on to be incredibly accomplished, with Susan becoming Google’s CEO in 2014 and Anne co-founding 23andMe, independence clearly teaches some valuable life skills.
Another great tip comes from the parent of someone doing impactful work through a powerful non-profit. Scott Harrison, the founder of charity: water, had a parenting foundation that focused on seeing other people’s needs, building discipline, and spiritual community.
When he was in elementary and middle school, his mom Joan would have him sort through clothes, shoes, and other belongings to give away to kids in need. She credits this early awareness of learning about, seeing, and trying to solve other people’s problems to his success today. The world is always in need of compassion and empathy, and Joan’s advice seems like a great way to nurture those qualities in children.
Learning from failure
There’s a trend in giving kids the values they need to navigate life on their own confidently. The next parenting tip is no different. Nia Batts, who co-founded the inclusive, non-toxic hair and beauty service Detroit Blows, shared valuable lessons her parents taught her. With a secure job at Viacom, she could’ve stayed put and not taken any risks.
But her parents created an environment where it was ok to fail when she was young. Where so many parents try to shield their kids from failure or mistakes, not teaching them to learn and grow from the experience, Nia was allowed to grow stronger and braver because of failure. And that’s why she said she had the courage to start her own business.
Letting go of control
The final piece of advice comes from Kenneth Ginsburg, author of Building Resilience in Children and Teens. Kenneth says that getting out of the way in our children’s lives can be challenging. Every parent wants to help their children, fix their problems, and guide them forward. But when kids are allowed to figure things out themselves, parents enforce their belief that they are wise enough to make their own choices.
Periods of being unsure and not knowing what to do next are normal for kids, especially a teenager or young adults, to experience. We’ve all walked through moments in life like that. But parents who raise kids who can navigate periods of uncertainty well don’t try to solve every problem. Instead, they let their kids run their lives, encourage their gifts, and support their decisions as they build fulfilling lives. Letting go of control can be tough when it comes to your baby. But for them to grow up and be confident enough to stand on their own two feet, you need to give them the freedom to be a student of life. That takes patience, love, encouragement, friendship, and mentorship when needed.
You can’t plan for everything as a parent. It’s impossible to know what challenges or difficulties they’ll face. But you can feel more confident in how they’ll fare by teaching them invaluable skills. Things like independence, compassion, learning from failure, and the freedom to choose their life path are life-long tools. When you offer them the opportunity to learn, make up their own mind, and instill essential values, you give them the best shot at creating a fulfilling and successful life.