There are hundreds of ideas and suggestions for how to parent right and thousands of ideas of how to not screw up your kids’ futures. So many opinions and so much, often unsolicited, advice.
If you’re actually curios and looking for one more idea, I’d like to offer you some pieces of information based on research. The longest longitudinal study of human behavior, the Harvard Grant Study, spanning from 1938 until present, provides us with much information about factors that impact our ability to end up as healthy, successful, and happy adults.
Two factors have become evident in our ability to become happy and successful adults. The first one: Love. Being seen and heard, being appreciated and valued for who we are, as we are. The second: having a good work ethic.
As a parent, here are ways you can address and support the growth of these two characteristics. First, do your best to see your kids: ask many questions about their days, their friends, their lives, and what makes them feel alive, and less questions about their grades, their performance, their awards and accomplishments. Notice and appreciate their style of dressing, their choices in friendships and their passions, however small or large they are. This lets them know they matter and are valued for who they are, rather than for what they do.
The second one, that work ethic part? Guess what was a constant in those adults’ responses about their childhood. Brace yourselves, for winter is coming. Oops, wrong movie. The consistent factor in those children’s lives was that they did chores. Chores. As children. The younger they started, the better they were able to develop a “pitch in” mind set, a tendency to step it up and take initiative in completing work.
So the next time you set up the chores list, or the next time you get back attitude and rolling of the eyes about the chores, just remind yourselves that there you are, supporting your kids towards becoming successful adults. Ignore the attitude and reinforce the completion of the chore. And for those of you who struggle with half-assed chores (sorry, should’ve told you I am fluent in Vulgar), know that we, as humans, improve by practicing and by doing a little more each time. Having that “I can get better” mindset is another important strength for a kiddo. So appreciate the half-assed, and figure out ways to encourage more in the future.
If you’re needing more help with both learning how to see your kiddos more, or how to figure out about this whole chores chart mess, reach out. I’ve got a few pieces of advice, but you have to ask for it first.
Now go out there and tell your kids you’re happy to see them.