Building Proactive Kids
Kids are motivated individuals. They are motivated by the things that interest them and the things they find fun. Sometimes that is playing with their friends, their toys, or wanting to be right next to you talking 90 MPH. We are not really that different as adults.
Most dads who are not interested in cleaning the garage do not express great enthusiasm for the task. However, golf or hunting maybe a different story. Our motivation comes with understanding our responsibilities not merely our level of enjoyment.
Helping kids learn to be proactive is an ongoing discipline of parenting. Why is being proactive important? Have you ever met someone who always seems to be in position to take advantage of opportunities? It seems as if they know what is going to happen before it happens. It may be financially, parenting, at home, or at work they are positioned to take steps forward in their life.
I don’t believe it is because they get an easy life pass. We need to help our kids understand that you pay now and play later or play now and pay later! Remember we almost always have to pay. I have found when I play first or delay my responsibilities it usually cost more time, money or energy. How do I help my kids become more proactive?
Teach them that they have responsibilities at home and school. It is important to understand they are not bad kids for wanting to put off those responsibilities to play now. We have to help them first own their responsibilities.
Parents control the safety net. One of our responsibilities as parents is to protect our kids. We have to manage the safety net. Kids will never be proactive if they do not feel some pain or frustration of procrastination. This is not easy on parents, but it is better to have our kids experience small disappointments in our presence then for real life to smack them on the head in high school for the first time. Natural consequences are a great teacher.
Pay attention to how often you remind them of their responsibilities. Our goal as parents is not be the task master of the home, although sometimes it is required because of the circumstances. However, if you find yourself constantly pushing your kids to take care of their responsibilities over and over we need to rethink our plan. Kids learn they only have to do the work once you get really mad.
Remember the word train. Training is a hard task. It requires consistent observation, encouragement and pushing. Parents have many things moving at the same time and juggling these to different pieces makes it difficult to follow through. But your child is smart and they learn when and what you will follow up on. The more consistent you are as a parent the more your child learns the importance of following through with their responsibilities.
Model being proactive. If you are constantly reacting to the circumstances of your life you are modeling behavior different from what you desire from your child. Stop and write down ways to be proactive with their school work, house work and other things you are responsible for completing. You are teaching them that responsibilities only get bigger, not go away
Helping our kids become proactive early is important to their success at school, at home, and when they take full responsibility for their life. It’s part of the maturing process.