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I Want my Child to be Successful!

Every parent would agree with that. Not only that, but they would also be receptive to any suggestion that helps them make their child succeed. So when I saw the title of this article “Science says parents of successful kids have these 9 things in common”, I read every word of it.

I am not sure I entirely agree with all the nine points. If some of the studies were to be repeated in India, I think the suggestions might be somewhat different. However it made me wonder “How do most parents define a ‘successful kid’?”

  1. A successful kid does well in school?
  2. A successful kid works hard?
  3. A successful kid gets into IIT/IIM or an IT company and goes abroad?
  4. A successful kid works in Google, Facebook, Microsoft or Apple?
  5. A successful kid becomes a doctor/engineer?

What is success? The dictionary defines it as  “the accomplishment of an aim or a purpose”

So who is successful? Some one who has accomplished a desired aim or a purpose is considered successful.

What is the role of a parent in making a child successful? Providing good education is a default answer. I would think that the big role a parent can play is that of an enabler, a guide, and a sounding board.

I know parents whose children have taken up unusual careers and have become successful. One child had a dream of becoming an actor. Today she is an acclaimed actor in the Hindi Film world. In another case a successful software engineer working in one of India’s largest software companies, opted out. He became a pravachana karta and is doing very well. I met a young boy some time ago. He wants to be an international football team manager. In all these cases the parents have listened to the kid, helped the child prepare himself to achieve his aim and did not stand in the way.

Imagine this situation. Your child comes to you and says “I want to climb the Everest.” Which of the following would your response be?

  1. “Stop dreaming, start studying. You have your exams next week”
  2. “Very few have succeeded in it. Didn’t you read the news about accidents while climbing to reach the Everest?”
  3. “Let us see. We will talk about it when the time comes”
  4. You gift the child an outstanding book on Everest and the biographies of people who conquered the Everest.

How the parents define success and measure their own lives will have a major impact on the child. Often, if success is not defined by outcomes but consistent attitude and values, that would make a big difference.


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Sridhar Ramanathan is the Founder of IDEASRS, where he is also a Strategic Innovation Coach. Sridhar’s mission in life is “to help those who want to do things better and differently”. His work involves conducting creative problem solving workshops for clients, and buidling competencies in creativity and innovation. He also blogs at www.ideasrs.com.

3 thoughts on “I Want my Child to be Successful!

  1. Kritika Srinivasan

    Good one Sridhar! Yes, all parents want their children to be successful, though we may each define success differently. There are as many views about success as there are parents! A recent issue of ParentEdge had as it’s cover story ‘How to Raise a High Achiever’, and I thought it would be helpful to readers to list a few factors that we identified as essential in this journey:
    1. Have high expectations of your child
    2. Discuss your expectations with teachers / coaches
    3. Love and support your child unconditionally
    4. Expose your child to positive role models and mentors
    5. Teach children how to handle failure
    6. Invest time and effort in your children
    7. Model the traits that you want to see

    I would encourage parents to pick up the May-June 2015 issue of ParentEdge to read the entire comprehensive article on this topic. Has a lot of tips from high achievers and their parents as well!

    I agree with you that one of the most important things is to teach them to handle failure. Readers may find these blogs interesting: Celebrating your Child’s Failures: http://parentedge.in/celebrating-your-childs-failures-an-inspired-look-at-2014/, Lessons from Failure: http://parentedge.in/lessons-from-failure-for-both-kids-and-parents/, and Teach Kids to Learn from Failure: http://parentedge.in/teaching-kids-to-learn-from-failure/.

  2. bijal

    I agree. Rather we need a positive approach on how to handle failure successfully. Because they have to climb the stairs of failure before achieving the success they desire.

  3. Aparajita Bose

    I was asked by a counselee mother recently to help her help her child be successful in life. My answer – Encourage the child to give her best to what she is doing. Whatever is the outcome, ask her to analyse it. If it is good, use it to remember what worked. If it is a failure, sit with a calm mind to see what didn’t work. Use the wisdom to do it differently this time. Above all, how a mother responds to a child’s failure, decides significantly how the child will take it (learn from it/ignore it/fear it and get immersed in negativity) now and also later in life as an adult. Old habits die hard. So a parent’s negative reaction towards a child’s failure will definitely not make it easy for the child, as an adult, to come out of it quickly.


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