The Top 3 Steps To Launching Happy, Independent Children

July 6, 2021

Raising children in today’s world of abundance, instant gratification, and social media can be challenging. Parents strive to help their children become healthy, happy, independent adults passionately pursuing their purpose and dreams. As a mother of two teenagers and one pre-teen, I am keenly focused on this target – prepare to launch! It can be difficult to know if we as parents are doing the right things to help and not hinder a successful launch into adulthood. BDF has worked with more than one thousand families for more than three decades and has found the top three things that lead to success.

  1. Getting a Job – Encourage children to earn their own money. Working enables young people the ability to separate from their parents both emotionally and financially. It starts in the home with chores. Ensure chores are completed and done the right way – a job done right is a job well done. Finding work outside of the home teaches children to be resourceful, get social exposure, understand how to work for a boss, and work hard. Ultimately the goal is for children to pursue a career that pays a living wage so they can live within their means without relying on parental support.
  1. Setting Personal Goals – Help your child understand their strengths and passions. Playing to strengths can be more powerful than shoring up weaknesses. If they know themselves and their goals, they are more likely to pursue them with purpose. Teach them that results depend on their own efforts and actions, and the effort is more important than the outcome. Focusing on one or a few areas diligently can be more effective than casting a wide net – go a mile deep with a few things versus an inch deep with many things.
  1. Overcoming Setbacks – Don’t try to smooth out every rough patch for your child. This can be a tough one! Allow them to fail and experience the consequences of their behavior and recover. This will teach them resiliency and allow them to learn from their mistakes. If you rescue them frequently, you are robbing them of learning those valuable life lessons. Love your child enough to set limits such as a monthly allowance they need to manage on their own. Be supportive by rewarding them when they strive to succeed. It is okay to have high expectations. Children internalize these high expectations and try to live up to them. School is a child’s first job and a great learning ground for these expectations and lessons learned.

As parents, we want the best for our children. Our natural tendencies may be to want to make their lives easier – such as encouraging them not to get a job to focus on their studies or athletics or bailing them out of a difficult situation. I encourage you to help them take the reins of their lives with your love and support and allow them to go through these important life experiences so they learn to take pride in their work, experience adversity, and know they can make it through future challenges.