Tips For Parents: How to Support Your Children’s Dreams
Kids dream big and they should. To them, life is a great adventure and offers endless possibilities. As parents, this is what we should encourage and do our best to nurture their passions, optimism and help our kids explore their dreams.
However, big dreams come true only for a few, due to various reasons. It could be the limitations of our reality, lack talent or discipline. This where parents jump in and using their skills, they can successfully manage their kids’ dreams with a touch of reality but still encouraging them enough to realize their potential.
To learn how this can be done, here are several tips to get you started.
Encourage your kids’ dreams
From a psychological standpoint, it’s never smart to tell anyone they aren’t good or capable enough to do something. Even if your child has average grades and accomplishments and keeps telling you that their greatest dream is to become an astronaut or engineer, never discredit them. If their singing sounds like animals fighting and they dream of being a world-famous pop star, sign them up for singing lessons.
If the odds are already against them, you should be the one who will support them. Enable them to gain the necessary skills, knowledge and encouragement to pursue their dreams. You focus your energy on being a supportive parent and let the kids follow their path. Talk about yourself as well and the dreams you had as a child. Be open about your own triumphs and successes and tell your kids why things didn’t work out or how they did. Having a conversation like this can be very inspiring for them to continue in the pursuit of their own dreams despite the obstacles they may be facing.
Be their number one supporter
The greatest thing you can do for your child is to be their biggest fan. Whenever and wherever you can, be there for them, whether it’s a recital, concert or a football field. Your presence and support is the safety net that helps them develop their own sense of self-confidence so they know that even if things don’t turn out the way they want, you’ll be there.
Whatever your kids choose to do, you should make sure you give them all possible educational opportunities. It could be a great piano teacher, a sports camp, a field trip with their science class or even additional help if their struggling with a subject, such as maths tutoring, is a great way of providing the right education for them and showing you care.
Kids usually have their internal motivation and drive, but it isn’t always enough for success. They also care what you think and crave your emotional support as well. With you on their side, anything is possible. Be positive and offer them support without unsolicited advice or criticism, and help them whenever they seem discouraged.
Nurture optimism but avoid judgement
We live in a highly competitive society and kids too experience a lot of pressure to excel. When they fail occasionally, it may seem as the world has come to an end. If you want to raise a capable and competent kid, nurture their optimism so they would be more open to take healthy risks, eagerly solve problems and learn from their experiences.
Nurturing optimism starts with a positive attitude, by being a great role model and confronting negative self-talk. Show your kids that their setbacks are only temporary and encourage them to push forward. Avoid judging your kids’ choices as they will feel rejected and unappreciated.
Praise their strengths and effort
Giving praise is in itself heartening but it can also be challenging. As a parent, you have a natural urge to instil a positive sense of achievement in your child, but this can often become generic complimenting. To be more effective, try to be more specific. Praise a specific thing your child did, such as sharing a toy, following instructions, giving a correct answer, performing a task well or helping a friend.
By being more precise, you show your appreciation and you’re reinforcing positive behaviour. From your child’s perspective, this shows them how much you care and value what they do. Furthermore, comment on the effort they invested as it’s often far more important than the actual outcome. Praising their effort shows your support and how even the smallest triumphs count.
Supporting your children’s dreams requires you to take a step back from your own needs and allowing kids to be simply kids. Their interests will probably come and go and in a matter of months, dreams can go from becoming a concert violinist to a marine biologist. No one can really predict where your kids will end up and supporting their passions doesn’t guarantee success, but providing them encouragement along the way and giving them the freedom to pick their passions and fight their battles is a way to happiness.
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