How to Raise A Leader

Parents wonder about what the future holds for their child. It’s in our nature to wish our children achieve happiness, health, and independence. But instead of wishing for those things, there are actually several important actions you can take to ensure your child grows up well equipped to handle just about any situation. Ultimately, these are the qualities of a leader and they are easy to instill in a child and beneficial to their development.

Children are most certainly the future. They will be the ones who carry on our legacies and contribute to the world and our communities. Therefore, setting them up with all the necessary skills to handle life’s biggest decisions should be a goal all parents have. Below are a few suggestions on how to give your child all the right tools to grow up to be a leader.

Build Their Confidence
Some children are naturally confident, and some children are naturally shy. Regardless of where your child sits, you can build their confidence to a healthy level by encouraging them to make the right decisions, and rewarding them when they do. If your child makes a poor decision, such as not doing their homework, you can still use the opportunity to build their confidence. Over-disciplining them for making a poor decision can hurt their self-esteem and potentially cause artificial confidence to compensate. Instead, try talking to your child about why their homework is important. Then, set some realistic goals for your child and help them identify the steps they need to take to achieve them.  These types of activities will build their confidence so they can be self-assured in everything they do in the future.

Encourage Participation
The best leaders are involved leaders. Have your child join afterschool programs like sports, theatre, chess club, or student council so they can participate, socialize, and learn valuable life lessons in the process. The programs often put children in leadership roles, giving them certain responsibilities, and holding them accountable to accomplish those responsibilities. Furthermore, most programs offer recognition to children when they’ve done well: scoring a goal, winning a debate, finishing the school’s yearbook, etc. These kinds of opportunities are priceless to a child’s development and self-esteem. And better yet, they’ll already be taking on leadership roles within these programs.

Be a Role Model
Children are always looking for examples to follow and they often look at the people closest to them. As a parent, all eyes are on you. Make sure you lead by example by showing your child how you make good decisions and problem solve. Share stories of times you felt low on self-esteem but you overcame your troubles in the end. Also, get yourself involved in activities like volunteering or take on leadership roles at work or at home, and talk to your child about the importance of doing so. As they see you being a leader and taking charge, they will want to follow suit…and you should encourage them to do so.

Let Them Make Decisions
Part of being a leader is making hard decisions. Your child should start learning how to make those decisions from an early age. Even if you’re just letting them decide what to wear to school or what they want to eat for dinner, giving them the ability to choose will not only build their confidence but teach them what happens when they make good decisions and bad decisions. For instance, if your child says they just want ice cream for dinner…there is virtually no harm in letting them have it. However, when they come back a few hours later saying that they are still hungry, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to discuss decision-making and forward thinking with them. Furthermore, when you let your child make their own decisions, you are letting them express themselves…a valuable part of development that should not be squandered. An expressive child that feels comfortable in his or her own skin will be a confident person who follows their heart later on in life.

Encourage Positive Thinking
Instilling a positive attitude in your child will get them through the toughest times. Not only will positive thinking keep their motivation in tact, but it will allow them to problem solve in stressful situations. By seeing new opportunities and silver linings when others don’t, your child will finally have the ability to be the leader you have been teaching him or her to be. Also, a child that sees the glass as half-full will continue to teach that same mentality to their friends, and eventually their co-workers and loved ones. This is a valuable skill that can turn into passion, determination, and commitment down the road.

Children learn many things during their development that will carry over to their adult lives. Ensure they are learning the right skills by talking to them about independence, confidence, and assertiveness and showing them how they can achieve those skills. You will not only be creating a leader, but a strong and effective one at that.