Sunday Snippet: Authentic Success Defined
As parents, defining success in our children is exceptionally difficult. And then trying to determine what successes our children achieve today will actually transfer into a successful future is even more challenging. Many parents are tempted or simply resort to over-parenting or as some have described, helicopter or even bulldozer parenting. But this is proving to be an ineffective and often damaging approach to helping our children become successful.
Author and psychologist, Madeline Levine has published an enlightening book entitled Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success. In promoting her book, she spoke with Mind/Shift contributor, Amanda Stupi where among other points, shares her concept of authentic success.
Levine uses the term “authentic success” to differentiate success as it is traditionally viewed: titles, money, good grades, and prestigious schools. In the forward to her book, Levine writes that parents also need to encourage kids to “know and appreciate themselves deeply; to approach the world with zest; to find work that is exciting and satisfying, friends and spouses who are loving and loyal; and to hold a deep belief that they have something meaningful to contribute to society.” Mind/Shift contributor, Amanda Stupi
In that conversation, Madeline also emphasized a number of tips parents should consider if they want to refucus their efforts to enhance authentic success. Her tips highlighted in the article included the following:
1. REMEMBER THE BASICS According to Levine, research shows that “the four most important factors in parenting are reliability, consistency, stability and non-interference.” Levine says learning from mistakes (the kind that occur when parents don’t interfere) is an important skill — one that employers say too many young workers lack.
2. BUILD A GOOD FOUNDATION “We’ve all become these decorators as opposed to construction workers. What kids really need is not the right curtains i.e. the right schools, the right grades, but they need a strong foundation. So many parents are busy paying attention to the decorative aspect of their child.”
3. SPEND TIME WITH YOUR KIDS Research shows that eating dinner with your kids is a good habit to maintain. Levine says to emphasize play time, down time, and family time, or P.D.F.
4. ESTABLISH INTERNAL DEFINITION OF SUCCESS Levine says that both parents and children need to shift from an external, performance-oriented version of success to an internal version that embraces “real curiosity about learning and how the child experiences things.” Encourage children “to go inside and evaluate for themselves.” At the end of the day that’s what I think authentic [success] means,” says Levine.
5. LET KIDS FAIL According to Levine, letting kids fail is “one of the most critical things” parents can do. She encourages parents to remember how often toddlers fall when they’re learning to walk.
6. FOCUS ON CHILD’S STRENGTH “When you grow up you only have to be really, really good at one or two things. We spend so much time with tutors or worrying about a kid who has difficulty in one field as oppose to concentrating on their strengths.”
7. DON’T DROWN YOUR KIDS IN PRAISE Levine emphasized that one of the most important things parents can do for their children is to hold back the praise – that’s correct, you shouldn’t constantly tell your children that they are great. “We seem to be under the impression that you can graft self-esteem onto your children if you just tell them enough how special they are. The reality is that self-esteem comes out of competence. How do you get confident about something? You get better at it.”
Raising successful children is a common goal to which nearly all parents strive. Understanding the anthenticity of success can go a long way to ensure what success truly is and how we can be intentional and effective in helping our children achieve all that they can be. Families who embrace the concept of authentic success understand the value of a WeHaKee experience and have been choosling WeHaKee Camp for Girls for their daughters for over 90 years.
Have a great week everyone!