Being a single mom, I’ve always focused on raising kind kids. I want them to be happy and prosperous – but after a failed marriage and some career changes, I’ve learned that kindness and humility are where success starts for most of us.
Over the weekend, my son and I cleaned out his closet. Old school papers, tiny mementos, and a few stuffed animals made their way to his someday when I get married box. He made a keepsake box for sharing with his future wife and children, a sentiment that made my mom-heart very happy.
Things like that remind me that we can learn something from our children. They sometimes teach us things we’ve forgotten but need to discover repeatedly. Luckily they still rely on us to help them become the very best they can be.
We all need to start somewhere, so I’ve compiled a list of things we can do to raise kindhearted, superhero children.
Raising Kind Kids
Nurture the BIG dreams
My kid is eight years old but dreams of being a good father and husband one day. I think a lot of it has to do with being raised in a single-parent home. He’s been sharing this dream with me since he was four years old, which, of course, still melts my heart to this day.
As he has gotten older, he has become more concise with his dreams and goals.
So far, he wants to be a major league baseball player, earn $10 million a year, buy a mansion (one for me, too), have two children, a dog, a wife, and a skateboard.
After he reaches those goals, he wants to go live in the woods with his best friend, Dylan. They want to become adventurers and hunters during baseball’s offseason, where they will both be playing in the major leagues, of course.
I imagine I will be babysitting quite a bit at that point.
For an eight-year-old, I think his dreams are perfect. Why not let him believe he can do all of those things? I sometimes have to catch myself before coaching him on what I want for him or being too much of a buzzkill. Reality is good, but too much is unnecessary for a young dreamer.
Dreams are good, but we want our kids to learn to have some grit as well. I’ve read that grit is the largest determining factor in whether or not a person will achieve success in their life.
Think about it – grit in your marriage when times get hard, determination in your career during uncertain times, consistency with healthy habits such as exercise and nutrition. It all starts with setting a goal and following through with actions.
What is your child’s goal?
Have an honest conversation with them about what they like and what matters to them. Listen to your children’s hearts, not just the words they speak. Think about the skills you notice in your child and how those skills match up with what their heart desires.
Make a list of goals.
Once you and your kid are on the same page with what they want to achieve that year, start writing down goals. You can break it down into smaller lists for weekly and monthly plans.
Be specific and list what needs to happen to follow a clear path. When you list actionable steps necessary to make the goal happen, it will give them the self-confidence they need to achieve that goal.
Complete an action item then, cross it off with your child.
Remind them that they are one step closer to their goal each time they cross off an item. Let your kids know that they are to complete one thing in front of them. One thing at a time, they focus on smaller bits while working on a bigger picture.
Lead by example.
How do you do that?
- Discipline – follow through with your actions and stay consistent. Raising kind kids start with good manners and consistency with rules.
- Watch your actions towards yourself and others. Do you love yourself? Are you speaking kindly towards others (when they are not around as well)?
- Do you hold your kids to a higher standard than you do yourself? Don’t expect them to be happy, kind, healthy, and self-loving if you aren’t setting an example.
- Trust and celebrate your children. When they reach a goal, celebrate it! If you believe in them and show it through your actions, they’ll start believing in themselves too.
Don’t forget your own goals.
Raising kind kids with good manners and a success-mindset is much easier said than done. It takes a lot of patience and dedication, and sometimes even then, we fail.
I have had to let go of dreams of my own to meet the desire to create a balanced life for us. After I left financial journalism, I spent several years studying screenwriting and filmmaking with the hopes of big-screen success. That dream is gone and was replaced by having my own business as a writing coach.
Now, I make other people’s dreams come true: write a bestselling book or noticeable blog. However, that was not easy for me to reinvent myself from a high-achieving work-a-lot gal to a work-at-home solo entrepreneur juggling clients, school schedules, baseball activities, and birthday parties.
Looking back to when I became a full-time single mother, the shifts and changes during that time enabled me to observe what was truly important. But, while working on creating a balanced life for my children, I’ve had to make it as a single mom – read more here if you want to know how I do it.
Remember, even though you want the best for your children, your goals are important too. Raising kind kids is not just about what they need – it’s about having them understand that mom has a to-do list also, and we need to respect each other’s time.
The reward of a brighter future
I grew up with the simple question, What do you want to be when you grow up? A question that does not seem to have an easy answer like it once used to, I think, for today’s youth. I believe it is essential to inject creative juice to motivate children to be goal-oriented and nurture God’s gifts.
While life can be a great teacher, parents are the best teachers in most cases. Teaching them how to take the initiative in life will give them a distinct advantage in the long run.