7 Super Practical Tips to Helping Your Children Succeed

Helping our children succeed in life is likely one aspiration most parents share. Did you know that your mindset and the way you view your child impacts how he or she views themselves and ultimately how they grow and develop? As a parent, one of our goals is to help our children realize and fulfill their potential. A parent’s mindset impacts the way they encourage, discipline, challenge, and engage their children.

Girl with cardboard rocket wings and stars in the background with text super practical tips to helping your children succeed

The Pygmalion Effect

In the 1960s and 70s, researchers did a social experiment with children in school. They told the teacher that one group of students was gifted and talented when in fact, they were no different than any other group of students. This impacted how the teachers treated the kids and ultimately how the kids performed. It was a pretty cool experiment and the results were profound. If you’re into science/theories and want some nitty-gritty details, check out this link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmalion_effect

The Parenting Connection

So, what does this have to do with parenting? Well, if we see the positive in our children, we encourage them and intentionally cultivate that potential with our words and actions. The result is that more than likely, we will see them excel. The expectations of parents greatly impact our children. The beliefs we hold about our children help form their self-image. Essentially, we get what we expect and our actions significantly impact whether our children succeed in life!

Mom with hand on hip facing upset daughter sitting on a couch.

How do we communicate our expectations?
  • The words we use
  • The way we say them
  • Our facial expressions and gestures
  • When we choose to pay attention and when we don’t
What expectations do I hold for my children?
  • Take time to reflect on your attitudes and beliefs about your child / children.
  • What positive thoughts do you hold about him/her?
  • What negative thoughts do you hold?
  • Have you labeled them or do you continue to reinforce a negative (undesirable trait)?
  • What are your dreams for them or the things they excel at…how can you begin to reinforce those things?
How am I wired?
  • Am I a glass half full or a half empty type of person?
  • Do I naturally encourage others or do I have to work at it?
  • Am I on top of my parenting game (e.g. practicing positive parenting skills) or am I stuck in a rut (e.g. getting easily frustrated with my kids.).

Dad siting at child size table across from his young daughter in a discussion.

Practical Tips:
  1. Be a role model by establishing high standards for yourself
  2. Celebrate small wins
  3. Don’t view setbacks as failures, but talk about them, identify what was learned, and what can be done differently next time
  4. Avoid talking about your child’s struggles with other family members, friends or neighbors
  5. Don’t participate in gripe sessions about the challenges you face with your child
  6. Establish high expectations for your kids by providing opportunities for them to be challenged, grow in independence, succeed as well as fail
  7. Find one thing to celebrate today and tell your child how proud you are of him or her

Parenting constructively is hard work! It’s not realistic that any of us will be perfect all of the time! Consider the expectatons you hold for your children, how you communicate those expectations, and how your own preferences influences the way you parent. It’s helpful to pause, reflect, and create a game plan for moving forward.  I’d love to hear what tips you have used to create and communicate positive expectations with your kids. The practical steps above will help you work towards your goal of helping your children succeed!


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  1. Sally says

    Thank you for a great parenting advice it’s always a challenge with technology appreciate your tips

  2. Louisa says

    Found this really interesting. I don’t give my parenting that much conscious thought but I think I will do now my little girl is nearly 2 and we are soon to have another one. Really agree with being a role model for your children.

  3. Ellen says

    Great tips! When my daughter was young people used to say “oh she’s shy” and I would immediately say “no, she’s not shy”. If I let people “tell” my daughter that she was shy, she surely would have beeen. Each child has their own way of learning!

  4. Jenna says

    Thank you so much for these tips! I have been feeling strained with my 3 year old son and I have noticed that I have been talking about the problems we have been having with my husband and my son has over heard. I feel bad about this and I have noticed that he will continue to participate in the negative actions that we have been talking about. Instead I will encourage him and model the actions that are more desirable. Thanks so much for reminding me of this today!

    • Melissa @ Our Happy Hive says

      Jenna- thanks for sharing. My daughter is also 3 and it can be challenging at times. I myself need to be reminded of positive parenting techniques. It’s easy to get in a rut. Remember to forgive yourself. Parenting is a learning journey!

  5. Jane says

    Thank you for all these great tips! As a kid I really felt a lack of positive affirmations from my parents and I’ll definitely try to do better with my kids!

  6. Renee says

    GREAT read. You have laid it out so simply but yet I will be thinking about it all day. Definitely want to read more about that Pygmalion Effect. I’m huge into studies like that. Our mind is a powerful thing

  7. Mary Leigh says

    These are really great reminders. Especially of how important our example is to our children – even the seemingly small things like our facial expressions make a difference!

  8. Ayanna @ 21FlavorsofSplendor says

    These are great tips! However, I find it helpful to talk with trusted friends and family about struggles I am having with my daughters. I love getting tips and encouragement from others who may have experienced similar things.

    • Melissa @ Our Happy Hive says

      Great point Ayanna! I like to seek wisdom from others as well! I just have to make sure my heart is in the right place…am I complaining (because, there are times when I want to) or am I truly seeing counsel.

    • Natalie T says

      I agree with you Ayanna. I also like getting some suggestions from close friends and my mom. She is my best friend and is never judging. She usually has some great suggestions that gives me a new view on the situation.

  9. Rachel says

    I absolutely needed to read this today. I’ve been struggling to be a good role model, mostly because pregnancy hormones are SO strong lately. But this was perfect.

  10. April says

    What a fascinating study! These tips are all great reminders. I try hard to do all of these things… but I think we all get “stuck in a rut” at times so I was glad to stumble across this article this morning.

  11. Michelle says

    I love how positive this is, especially the part about not participating in gripe sessions or publicly complaining about your child’s struggles.

  12. Bridget says

    Excellent reminder! I am working on actively encouraging my 3-year-old, lately, he gets so frustrated when he feels he does something wrong, such as he can’t write the letter “S” correctly. It takes a conscious effort to see this as a teaching opportunity and help him work through his frustration.

  13. Sapna Krishnan says

    This post has made me believe that what I am doing is probably right for my kid. As a kid myself, academics was given more importance. I hope to let my daughter dream and also live her dreams. Thank you so much for this post. 🙂

  14. Inez says

    These are really great tips. I’m curious about the not talking with friends or family about your child’s struggles. How do you recommend getting advice or feedback? My friends and family are my go to when I need advice on something. Particularly, if I know they have experience in an area. I would probably still be second guessing myself concerning a developmental concern I had several months ago, had it not been for my brother and a good friend giving me advice based on their own experience and expertise. I really love this post and all your tips, that’s why I’m asking what you recommend. 🙂

    • Melissa @ Our Happy Hive says

      Great question Inez! I should probably clarify within the post, I’ve had a few people ask me about this same point. I too seek advice from family and trusted friends. The caution is around the the attitude and timing of such a discussion (again, I should me more explicit in the post). Regarding the attitude, there have definitely been times when I have vented about my “threenager” with a friend/family member and I wasn’t truly seeking advice. Those sorts of conversations aren’t particularly helpful. The second caution is regarding the timing…if the child could potentially overhear it could do more damage than good. I hope that sheds some light on your question. Let me know if you have further questions. 🌷

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