How to Raise Ambitious Kids

Parental guilt is hard to get rid of , no matter what decisions you make as a parent. However, before you spend too much time over-analyzing your best actions, it’s important to take a step back and think about what those actions may or may not teach your child about ambition. For example, mothers who continue their careers after the birth of children can teach more than we think.

As Dr. Sarah Allen, a child neuropsychologist, told Forbes in a recent interview , our ambition is good for the brains of our children, and building on it is an opportunity to model a range of effective habits as well as foster a sense of independence in our children. children.

With the number of moms struggling with guilt over career and family juggling, we reached out to Dr. Allen, author of Boosting the Intelligence: An Informed Intervention to Raise Successful, Happy, Connected Children , in addition to being a coach. for parents . What we really wanted to know was how our own ambition could help us raise ambitious children.

Children learn by watching us

“Developing children will model behavior,” Allen said. “It is logical that they will also model ambition. We have been taught, especially women, to hold back and give everything to our children, but in reality we are doing them a disservice by not modeling ambition and modeling some of these skills that will be useful to them in the future. long run. “

If children grow up seeing their parents set and pursue big goals, this is one lesson they will learn. If children grow up seeing their parents abandon everything, denying who they are and what makes them happy, this is also a lesson our children will learn, whether we like it or not.

“I often say to the mothers I help, ‘Could you advise your child to give up all his life and everything that makes him happy in order to serve his child? “No, you would work to help them find a solution, so there is some balance in it.” But for some reason, turning to ourselves inward, we tend to ignore this fact. “

Combine simulation with active learning

Children learn by watching their parents. However, as Allen suggests, it’s a good idea to combine behavior modeling with active learning.

“If you combine work and household chores, we tend to do it mentally. Instead of doing it mentally, if you talk about a problem, your children will learn how to solve it. They learn and understand how to organize and reorganize their day and their priorities in this way. “

Parents can combine completing a large work project with their normal work responsibilities and family responsibilities such as picking up their child from soccer practice and making sure they have enough time for family fun in the evening. Seeing how you prioritize your responsibilities as well as how you adjust to the unexpected can help your kids understand how they can prioritize and organize their day.

“Kids learn problem-solving, independence, organization, initiative, motivation — all through modeling,” Allen said. “These are learned skills, not the skills we were born with, and so we need to teach these skills.”

Nursing ambition requires learning independence

As parents, we strive to help our children. This impulse is well-intentioned and can be helpful in some circumstances, but it is also important to have an idea of ​​what the limits should be. Ultimately, our children must grow up to become independent adults, for which they will need to acquire certain skills.

“We teach kids to be healthy, happy and successful adults one day, and to do that, they need to start doing a lot for themselves,” Allen said. “So instead of putting the burden on moms, we, as moms, have to teach them how to do things on their own. There was this “we have to do all of this” mindset, but it doesn’t really help educate your children. “

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