by Denise Morrison Yearian
Most parents want to raise their children to be future leaders that impact their community, nation and world. Although some leadership traits are innate, these qualities can be cultivated. Here are 10 tips to help:
1. Voice your values. Establish a value system in your home and instill virtues such as honesty and integrity early on, as this is the backbone of quality leaders.
2. Ready with responsibilities. Teach your child to be responsible by delegating age-appropriate chores and increase expectations. This builds competence, confidence and independence, which are all essential leadership traits.
3. Provide a platform. Give your child a platform to voice his views. Exchange thoughts on what is happening in the new, on TV and at school so he knows his opinion counts. Also let him participate in some family decisions such as where to go on vacation or what to have for dinner.
4. Aim for activities. Academic and extracurricular activities build discipline and teach teamwork, interpersonal skills and accountability to others. They also provide an outlet for setting and achieving goals and stepping out in leadership positions.
5. Go for the goal. Goal setting encourages children to take on challenges, teaches long-range planning and promotes self-confidence when goals are attained. Show your child how to set and achieve goals by breaking down larger tasks into smaller ones then celebrate successes along the way. If failure does occur, have your child look at the experience in light of the wisdom it produced: “What lesson can we take away from this so you can succeed next time?”
6. Build in bravery. Encourage your child to take a stand with regard to peer pressure and to venture out with challenges that move him beyond his comfort zone. Kids evolve in the process and emerge stronger when they face difficult situations head on. Stand on the sidelines and offer support and encouragement.
7. Encourage agent of change. Teach your child he doesn’t have to sit idly by when faced with situations he has the power to change. Remind him that optimistic attitudes are often an inspiration and may prompt others to follow his lead.
8. Venture out with volunteering. Volunteering teaches servant leadership and civic responsibility. Once your child gets into the volunteer mindset it will become a natural part of his life. Take part in church or community volunteer work and bring him along. Encourage giving not only of his time but also a portion of his money.
9. Lead by example. Parents are powerful role models and teach by example how to lead. Share your goals, growth opportunities and the sacrifices and rewards you’ve experienced in becoming a leader.
10. Be consistent. Raising children to be quality leaders takes times and consistent effort. Continue to instill moral intelligence, encourage responsible behavior and provide opportunities for growth. In time, he will naturally step up and step out to lead others.
Denise Yearian is the former editor of two parenting magazines and the mother of three children and four grandchildren.