Research shows that kids need certain things to succeed in life.
Are our children getting what they need to succeed?
As parents it is good to read through the list regularly and evaluate how we are doing.
1. Family support: Our children need us to verbally tell them they are loved, spend time with them, and reach out and hug them often.
2. Parent communication: We need to be available to listen and talk with our children whenever they need us. Regardless of what is going on or where we are.
3. Parents as a social resource: It is important to ask our children questions and listen to their answers.
4. Other adult communication: Include kids in conversations with other adults. It teaches them skills they can only learn from experience.
5. Other adult resources: Expose your children to other adults who can be a positive influence.
6. Positive school environment: Ask your children about school.Have them tell you about their day, everyday. If you set aside time when they are young, the tradition will continue even as they hit the teenage years.
7. Parent involvement at school: Know your children’s teacher and the administration at your child’s school. Volunteer at your child’s school when possible.
8. Parental discipline: Set fair rules in your home, with reasonable and established consequences.
9. Parental standards: Be sure you and your spouse have discussed the standards and expectations you have for you children. Be on the same page. Come to agreements before the situations arise.
10. Parental monitoring: Know who your children are with, where they are and what they are doing. Set times for them to be home and consequences if they don’t arrive on time.
11. Positive peer influence: Know your children’s friends and their friend’s parents. This applies to our kids at all ages. Not just teenagers.
12. Spend time at home: Research shows that families should spend at least 4 nights a week at home with one another. Don’t hesitate to spend more.
13. Extracurricular activities: Kids need outside interests, but don’t over schedule them. Show your support by attending the events.
14. Community activities: Become familiar with the activities taking place in your community. Get your children involved. A successful child has a relationship with their community. They understand the need to a part of this greater body of people.
15. Involvement in a faith based community: Encourage your kids to be involved in faith based activities.
16. Music: Music should be a part of a child’s everyday. Play music for little children. You will notice that even babies move and sway. Music makes kids happy. Heck, it makes me happy.
17. Educational aspirations: Discuss life goals with your children. Be a good role model so that you are trying to practice what you preach.
18. School performance: Expect children to do well in school, but understand each child is different. Be sensitive to each child’s strengths and weaknesses. Celebrate school success.
19. Homework: It has to be done, and teaches important skills. Establish an environment free of distractions, conducive to learning.
20. Achievement motivation: Encourage your children to constantly be involved in learning. Be sure you are always doing the same.
21. Global concern: Help children become aware and support the world around them.
22. Help others: Provide opportunities for you children and family to serve others.
23. Empathy: Kids need to be empathetic. Help them learn by not tolerating unkind words or name calling in your home.
24. Decision making skills: Allow your children to make decisions. Make them a part of family decisions where appropriate.
25. Assertiveness skills: Teach your children to stand up for what is right and what they believe. Be positive and give affirmation.
26. Planning skills: Teach your children to set goals, and accomplish those goals. Give them responsibility and teach them to prioritize.
27. Friendship skills: Kids need to learn how to interact with other children. Give them the opportunity by inviting friends over and watching how things go. This includes the ability to share, reason, get along etc…
28. Sexual Restraint: Be open to talking about sex. When the time is right be sure you discuss expectations and values.
29. Hope: Be positive. Be hopeful. Help your children enjoy life and look forward to the future.
30. Self-esteem: Help build your children’s self-esteem. Express your love and use kindness to show your children you respect them.
(Adapted from Benson, Galbraith, Espeland: What Kids Need to Succeed. 1998)
WOULD YOU ADD ANYTHING TO THE LIST?