As much as we hate to admit it, we all have dreams for our kids. Perhaps it’s for them to land a job at Google or receive an athletic scholarship. However, as natural as these desires are, they don’t set our kids up to succeed at those goals, mainly because they’re defined by us and not them.
Perhaps one of the best stomping grounds for your child to learn what they consider success is at college — where their first introduction to the real world begins. And even though we think we’ve mastered ways to prime our children for the best success, I’m going to offer a few tips on how to help them define their success as well.
Encourage Good Habits Early
If you haven’t already been preaching strong health and social habits, then there’s no better time to start than now. A lot of setting your kid up for college is encouraging them to follow a schedule that allows for them to get their work done while covering their bases. While this is a lesson you’ve likely heard before, it is always worth a refresher.
Not only should your kid already have a good studying routine down, but it’s important that they also get adequate sleep, exercise, and nutrition. As it’s been noted before, students who exercise get better grades, which is why so many folks encourage their kids to play sports in High School. Additionally, taking on other extracurriculars is an essential component in helping them find their passion and interests. Remember, these are habits that are going to stick with them for life, so it’s never too late to get on developing these habits.
Help Them Find a Mentor
As a parent, you can’t teach your kid everything. As they go out into the world, they’re going to want guidance you just can’t match for career and personal development. That’s why it’s vital for you to encourage to find a mentor with specific experience and skills.
If they already have a favorite teacher or coach that has made an impact on them, it’s your job to remind them to ask these individual for continuous support and guidance. Not only will they find those that will provide guidance, but these folks can additionally be a great resource when it comes to finding work, as well. Plus, the relationship between a mentor in college versus one in younger years is drastically different, as college mentors help students integrate into the real world by becoming working professionals. Overall, a mentor can provide one of the most invaluable experiences in their time in college, so it’s important to choose wisely.
Experience Is Part of The Process
One of the worst mentalities I’ve seen with parents is this notion that just because their kid is going to college, then that means they’re set for life. However, with the rapid growth of the college population over the years, this idea is setting kids up for false expectations.
Beyond the time they spend in school, it’s important to encourage your kids to have passion in what they want to do for work. This includes keeping up with the latest and greatest in the industry, as well as actively applying that knowledge in any way they can. It’s okay if they change their mind or decide they don’t like what they’re doing (and you should encourage this type of honest dialogue), as the experience they’ll gain will be invaluable. In short, this is more about having a process down to explore their interests and how to pursue them rather than hammering down a set career path.
Let Them Grow On Their Own
Since college is the first time a lot of kids leave the nest, it’s wise to let them learn about the world on their own before they head off to a university campus. Sure, a little bit of help at the beginning might be useful, but continuing to helicopter-parent runs the risk of preventing them from developing emotionally and socially as well. This is a time to make mistakes and find out how to recover from them, so letting them go through that experience as it comes to them is important.
It doesn’t really matter how you define success for your child; this is their time to start coming up with that definition on their own. Encourage that mentality, and they’ll be striving in no time.