Tips for Better Parenting

  • Jamie Woolf author of Mom-in-Chief: How Wisdom from the Workplace Can Save Your Family from Chaos offers these tips on just how to help them be the best they can be:

    • Set a good example. Kids live what they learn, and they learn what they see every day. So if you want to raise a winner, be a winner.
    • Set goals and work toward them. Don’t be lazy. Practice good time management. Do your work cheerfully and tirelessly. Let your kids see how passionate you are about what you do.
    • Seek out your child’s aptitudes…subtly. Keep an eye out for the early emergence of talent and skills when your children are still young, but don’t force it out of them. It is more important to let them play and develop on their own when they are little than to enroll them in an overwhelming array of classes. Expose them to lots of different activities, but don’t push one. Much like Phelps’ talent emerged naturally from his days of hanging around the pool as a child, your child’s unique gifts will show up.
    • Don’t let kids give up (they’ll thank you later.) Encouraging your children to keep reaching for their goals, even when they’re sick of practicing or studying or working, is one of the most valuable gifts you can give them. In today’s culture of immediate gratification, plenty of kids are raised to believe that if something’s not immediately attainable, it must not be worth the effort.
    • Perseverance is important, but so is perspective. Teach your children the valuable tool of putting their goals into perspective. One Olympic gold medalist said her mom told her she didn’t care if she won 10 gold medals, she still had to do her chores and clean her room.
    • Believe in your child (if you don’t, who will?) When the Olympic champions messed up or made mistakes, their parents weren’t overly critical. Debbie Phelps didn’t give up on Michael (who struggled with ADHD) when his teacher told her, “Your son will never be able to focus on anything.”  In fact, her first response was rightly to question the teacher – ”maybe he’s bored,” she said. She accepts her son’s strengths and weaknesses. When he was younger, she supported the passion she saw him exhibit for things he loved. She believed in him. The rest is Olympic history.
    • Stress sportsmanship. Yes, it really does matter. A few nasty displays of bad sportsmanship plagued the Olympics this year. Childhood is the best time to teach the importance of showing respect and support for someone’s peers – even when they are also competitors. Make sure you show respect for other people’s achievements and avoid catty comments and gossip, and insist that your kids do the same.


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