How to Make Your Child Into a Leader
All children are born with the same number of chromosomes; they have an
identical brain structure and similar body functions. The edge one child may
have over another is derived from the attitude, character and strategy used by
their parents. It is in these vital areas that parents have to help their
children develop so that they not only achieve their potential, but exceed it.
Success and self-belief join hands to make a leader out of an ordinary person.
Let us share some secrets on how to make your child a leader.
1) Begin Early
A leadership mentality will benefit the child at all stages of
his/her life. It has been observed that leadership qualities developed during
school years and achievements in extracurricular activities are more accurate
predictors of adult success than an I.Q. test or an exam percentage. Nurturing
his/her self-esteem is the central element in inspiring a child to perform well
and you can't start too early, because once feelings of incompetence or
inadequacy have taken root, they are very difficult to remove.
2) What You Put In Is What You Get Back
We all know eating a nutritious diet
will make your child healthy. This applies to character development too.
Instilling proper values will make a child grow in inner strength.
associated confidence will transform him/her into a leader.
3) Assess Your Child's Potential
Wrong assessment of the child's potential
and an attempt to mould his/her contrary to his/her natural ability, can lead to
disaster. Although listening to the child's views is recommended, his/her
self-assessment may suffer from inexperience. There is no harm in taking expert
help in shaping your child's future.
4) Focus on Inappropriate Behavior, not the Personality
parents point a finger at the child, and not at the inappropriate behavior. “You
are so dumb!” “Why can’t you get it through your thick skull?” “God, you are
such a clumsy, insufferable fool”. Criticize the behavior, not the child. After
saying "That's wrong!” explain to him/her the right way to go about things. You
must let your children know what you want them to do, not just what you don't
want them to do.
Remember, your child is not stupid! If he/she fails to measure up to your
yardstick of excellence, lower the benchmark or put in a concerted effort to
raise the child's standard. Children, who grow up in homes where personalities
are attacked, tend to develop an inferiority complex.
When confronting the child, try using phrases like “poor judgment”, “this is
not how it is done”, “your behavior was inappropriate”. Focusing on the act
allows children to save face. It may also allow them to better understand and
accept the appropriate options for next time. This will certainly improve their
popularity, especially among their peers. Gaining acceptance in the peer group
gives children opportunities to interact, influence and lead other children.
5) Praise the Child
Praise is the best tonic for self-esteem; applause the
greatest booster of self-confidence. When your little one takes his/her first
few unsteady steps towards you or when he/she climbs up the stairs and declares
triumphantly from the top, “I am the tallest”, your look of genuine pleasure and
approval makes him/her grow in self-esteem.
A hesitant child may accomplish the feat if he/she is told, “I know you can
do it!” And if the parents follow it up with “You did a terrific job”, the
child's confidence gets a permanent boost.
So many world class sports persons, singers, musicians and academicians
readily concede that the primary influence on their early career was their
parent's support and appreciation. Talking positively about children and their
accomplishments reinforces their self-image and goads them to strive for further
excellence. It is through an exemplary performance that one finally gains
Any success, however small, is worth complimenting, but don't go overboard
with your praise. Constructive criticism, coupled with sincere wholehearted
appreciation, is the winning formula. Insincere and exaggerated praise may
inflate the child's ego unnecessarily and is a sure recipe for failure.
6) Think about Success, Not Obstacles
“What if I fail?”, “What if I forget?”,
and “What if I miss?” Individuals, who keep worrying about how to avoid failure
rather than focusing on how to succeed, generally end up as disappointments.
Parents should try to develop the right values and a positive attitude in their
wards. They should persuade them to concentrate on success and to be pragmatic
about failures treating them only as temporary setbacks. The person who believes
in success is the one who inspires others to follows.
7) Build on Previous Accomplishments
If your child has won a medal in a
debate competition, a cup in athletics or a certificate of merit in academics,
display it prominently in the house. Whenever the child sees it, he/she will get
an urge to do better. Confining to previous triumphs is not good, but using them
as inspiration for additional success is recommended. By seeing the previously
won medals and trophies, the child gets the message that: “I have done it in the
past, I can do it again”. This “can do” approach can make your child a leader.
8) Teach Your Child to Relax
The ability to remain calm during a crisis
identifies the ace in the pack. Teach your child to relax, because anxiety leads
to poor concentration, which is the root cause of poor performance. A relaxed
mind can think and act better, thus improving the efficiency of a person.
An extremely effective technique to relax is to breathe deeply and evenly.
Train the child to concentrate on each inspiration and expiration and to let the
mind go blank for a few moments. Thinking of a favorite song, imagining a
flowing river or a cool breeze blowing gently - any pleasant idea can be
utilized to relax the child.
9) Let Children Experiment
We admire and follow someone who is willing to
experiment, to rise to challenges. Yet when it comes to our own children, we
want them to play safe. All too often we step in and try to shield a child from
making mistakes and in the process we deprive them of important learning
Parents should motivate the child to take initiative and tackle new
challenges. The one, who tries, fails, rectifies his/her mistakes and gets up to
make a fresh attempt finally succeeds. This spirit of adventure and steely
resolve sets the leader apart. A true leader is one who rises to the occasion
without fear of failure and is able to inspire others with his/her enthusiasm.
10) Leaders Are Dreamers
If your son wants to be a fighter jet pilot or your
daughter wants to become a crime reporter, what would your response be? “It's
risky business! Why can’t you think of something less dangerous?”
Chances are your son will end up becoming an aero-designer and your daughter
will be a computer programmer. Don't overreact; let children fantasize about the
future. Who knows, they may devise means and ways to make their fantasies come
Leaders have vision and they can dream. They look at things differently and
can explain them to others. They are able to influence people into following
their path. So let children dream, but tell them that the best way to make their
dreams come true is to wake up and work.
11) Give Children Opportunities to Lead
Leadership like any other skill has
to be learned, practiced and mastered. Just as a tennis player must practice
hard to perfect a serve, a potential leader must be provided ample opportunities
to imbibe leadership qualities.
Motivate the child to become a captain of a school football team, a class
monitor or a school prefect. These are all learning experiences for a good
leader. Parents must encourage this early apprenticeship, but the child should
be allowed to pursue his/her own areas of interest. Some children revel on
stage, some shine on the sports field, while others still, excel in the
classroom. Allowing children to operate in their favored domain builds their
confidence and lays the foundation for leadership.
12) A Smile Takes You a Mile
It requires 64 facial muscles to frown and only
14 to smile. So why overwork your face? A friendly hello and a pleasant smile
can win many a battle. Teach your child to not only greet those in his/her own
circle, but others as well. Instill in him/her human values and respect for
elders. A person who exudes natural warmth and genuine compassion is quickly
recognized as a potential leader.
13) Your Example Matters
It has been seen that when parents exhibit
leadership qualities, it becomes easier for children to develop similar traits.
Parents who set high standards of moral and ethical conduct generally succeed in
teaching the same to their children.
A thief can't expect his son to be a
virtuous, law-abiding citizen. Similarly, an honest, resourceful father is
likely to have a respectful, responsible son.
There are no shortcuts to success. The making of a leader is a gradual
process which requires parental support, encouragement and hard work. These
efforts are doubly rewarding: your child develops the qualities of a leader and
more importantly, you form a close, warm relationship with your child.
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