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Four Skills

On recent training day for some mentoring work I do in schools, I was reminded of the key skills that make a child successful at school. I then began relating these key attributes to parenting and beyond that as a moral framework and a sense of values.

I believe that there are four key skills a parent should develop in a child:

Confidence:  Being confident but not arrogant in their actions, decisions and abilities.

Persistence: knowing you won't always get it right first time and keeping going.  A strong character, confident enough to keep going with enthusiasm.

Organised:Being on time and knowing how to plan time, from home work to tidy rooms

Get Along:  How we get along, approaching people, have a conversation, listening, body language, how we have positive interactions with those around us.

With these four skill sets a child can handle and manage the rigors of anything school, university or life can throw at them. So when we develop manners (saying please or thank you) we are building skills in social interaction “Get Along”

How can we as parents help develop these skills? Do we let our protective nature prevent us from letting a child take risks? If we micro manage our children's time do they ever learn time management? Does telling them to sit until they have finished homework develop persistence or resentment?

If we don't listen to our children and engage with them by letting them lead, how will they learn to get along or be confident?  It is a balancing act. Like a captain keeping a ship running and sailing in the right direction whilst allowing the crew to learn new skills which could upset the boat. NOBODY SAID PARENTHOOD WOULD BE EASY!

Skills that serve us for life are often developed in childhood. My granddad had two great sayings, that my mother also instilled into me as a child. "Do to others as you would like to be done to you" and  "You are as good as anybody and better than nobody" . These two sayings fit very firmly into the Get Along category above, and are very simple but extremely wise words.

As a student mentor I work in schools with 14 to 18 year olds trying to enhance, develop and engage their life skills. I wonder how many of those children would need that assistance if their parents had known about these skills when they were younger? For some it’s just about helping them reconnect with skills they had been taught but are unsure how to apply to life outside the family home.

Every individual carries out the role as a parent in their own way, and no way is totally right or wrong. There are no rule books, only ideas!


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