mother and daughterWhere do you want your kids to learn about life and being successful? Where do you want them to get their definition of success?

I have learned in recent years that I do not want my kids to define success the way the world around them does. Everywhere you look “success” seems to mean having spending tons of money (whether you really have any or not). And that is not what I want for my kids. My guess is that it is not what you want for your kids either.

Success in life, and this includes finances, is determined by balance in all areas of a person’s life. How they relate to other people, what their work ethic is, how confident they are in themselves, and especially how their spiritual lives are will all ultimately affect their finances and are all interconnected. So we parents need to play an active role in developing those aspects of their lives and the characteristics they need there. But how do we do that?

Start by talking with your children. Notice I used the word with, not at. When you talk with your children you are giving them instruction and advice that they need but also listening to their thoughts and feelings. Listening validates them and can give you direction so you know which areas need a little work and how best to approach those areas.

Studies have shown that when asked where they learned their own financial habits, most people said they learned them from their parents. This goes for other areas of life too. You have the most potential to influence your child for the better. The best way is by working on open communication and providing your child with the safety and comfort they need to feel to approach you with questions or issues and know that you are going to be accepting but honest with them.


Steps for Communicating with Your Kids:


Here are some steps to help you open up the lines of communication with your children so you can set them up for success:

1. Listen. Without interrupting, without judging. Listen to their thoughts, feelings, and words so you know where they stand. When you know and understand this, you can adjust how you talk to them so that you can reach them effectively.

2. Do. Communication is not all just about talking. Show your kids what you want them to learn. Be an active model of the actions and characteristics that you want them to develop because they are watching you and taking their cues on how to act from you.

3. Be encouraging. While you have a role as a parent to correct behaviors and to discipline your children, remember to encourage them always. If they have made a mistake, share this and any consequences with them, but lift them up and show them that they can make better choices next time and have positive outcomes. Help them keep trying and keep learning.

4. What’s the take-away? When talking with your kids about something, do you have something of value to give them or are you just rambling? Sometimes we like to hear ourselves talk or we get off topic. Sometimes it is OK to go off on a bunny trail and discuss other things together, but if you are purposely talking with your child about something, make sure that you know what it is you are trying to get across. You can try phrasing it different ways and asking your child to repeat what it is you said so you know that they understand.

I hope you are encouraged by this to start talking with your kids today and working on communication. Kids, whether they show it or not at the time, appreciate when you make the effort to do this, and not only will it help give them the right direction to move towards success in their lives, but it will give you a richer, fuller relationship, and that’s always a good thing!

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