Children learn a lot from their parents and other significant adults that surround them. They look up to them as role models as well as benchmarks of success.
Success, a life-long objective, is planted in the minds of children at a fairly young age. Guided by notions of monetary and material value, children are sent down a path that could bear little meaning to their lives. So, to what end should we task our children with the pursuit of success?
Children learn a lot from their parents and other significant adults that surround them. They look up to them as role models as well as benchmarks of success. However, these benchmarks, if not addressed early, can be overbearing. As parents, we need to think about how we want to define success for our children.
Children who grow up following their parent’s expectations often find themselves lacking self-made goals. Like a weight on the back of a child, expectations can cause irrevocable harm. A study in the US found that the rate of depression and suicides among teenagers and young adults has increased.
Requirement of changes in education system
Teenagers and young adults are finding it too hard to cope with the expectations placed on them. Today’s children, from a young age, are enrolled in classes that put them in a race against each other. The competition among peers and the requirement for better grades has spiked, but so has stress and anxiety. The education system needs to be reformed. These fixed goals, in terms of performance, often leave little room for the growth of creativity and intellectual flexibility, which is needed now more than ever to be successful in today’s world.
Therefore, it has become imperative that we redefine the measures and meaning of success. Success, in itself, can be a measure of personal goals, yet at the same time; it can be an object of perspective. Sure, being successful can consist of a good career and a sufficient amount of funds, but we need to teach our children that success is so much more than just that.
Success in terms of personal goals
Children do not need to conform to fixed goals to be successful. However, it is important for them to set their own goals. Based on personal ambitions, structured goals towards success can help children attain the future they desire. When children set their own goals, it is easier for them to find the motivation to achieve their goals. Attaining these personal goals can be a valuable measure of success.
Success in terms of mental and physical health
The growth of social media has ushered in the need for an emphasis on health. It is important for parents to teach their children to have the right outlook in life, especially while utilizing social media. The lavish lifestyles and bravado portrayed on social accounts can deter a child from trying to be successful. Cyber bullying can be detrimental to the health of an individual. This is why we need to teach our children the importance of maintaining their mental and physical health, and how health can measure up to be a value of success.
There is a need to teach children that being fit, which can include participation in sports or indulgence in outdoor activities is beneficial, that they should be happy and not let it depend on how they compare to others, that doing their best is enough. Good physical and mental health can influence creativity and increase motivation and ambition. It is both a measure and a driver of success.
Success in terms of happiness
Being happy and being affluent is not necessarily the same thing. When everything is said and done, how we feel at the end is all that matters. If years of hard work that culminate into an affluent lifestyle does not make you happy, it would have been of no use.
If you teach your children that success can be measured by one’s happiness instead of wealth, it can direct children to grow in manners that suit their own ambitions and beliefs. Happiness as a measure of success can help bring out the best in children. And when everything is said and done, it will be well worth it.
Need to fix the notions of success:
The determination to do well and achieve success can be a powerful tool if not convoluted by the weight of expectation. As parents, it is vital that we fix the notions of success, so that it may liberate children. By shifting the measures of success from extrinsic goals like material rewards and societal expectation to intrinsic goals, where they youth care more about self-development, they can start to grow in a manner that is suitable for the world today and that matters to themselves as individuals. The measures of success need to be redefined so that the youth may have a healthy, happy and meaningful life.