Every person is unique, which makes a good case for perceiving and measuring success according to our own unique standards, rather than comparing ourselves to others. Sounds good, right? Easier said than done.
As a parent, it’s only natural to want to see your child succeed in life. We want the very best for our children, and that includes access to opportunities beyond those that were afforded to us. However unknowingly, though, this can narrow our view of what success looks for our child.
Success looks different to everyone, and reframing our thoughts is the first step to celebrating a wider, more inclusive range of ‘successes’. The good news is, you can help your child (and yourself) to recognise and celebrate the different types of success by focusing on the good and practicing gratitude.
Here are a few types of success that aren’t just academic or outcomes-based that you can celebrate with your child.
You know your child better than anyone – their strengths, their struggles and everything in between. With this in mind, you can help your child give themselves a pat on the back when they’ve played to their strengths or have improved in a particular area. One of the greatest gifts you can give to your child is helping to nurture their abilities and encouraging them to chase after their passions.
Of course, success isn’t always measured by achieving something – it’s important you celebrate their efforts as well, especially if they’ve tried something that’s new or out of their comfort zone. The reality is, they won’t be good at everything nor will everything ‘work out’, but that doesn’t mean they can’t learn valuable skills from doing it. Celebrate the small wins of giving things a shot and putting themselves out there to show that success doesn’t have to be tied to achieving.
The teen years are when they start figuring out who they are, and importantly, when they learn how to advocate for themselves and their best interests. Communication is key here, and it’s worth celebrating. Whether they’ve made a friend aware of their boundaries, had a hard conversation with you or a family member, or asked someone for help, these behaviours show they’re growing as a person and learning how to advocate for themselves.
Another skill they will begin to foster in the teen years is empathy. The world opens up and proves to be a rather grey place, rather than starkly black and white, which can push them to see from others’ points of view. Exhibiting this empathy in their personal relationships should be cause for celebration – it proves they’re learning the skills they need to successfully navigate relationships in their impending adulthood. Helping a friend, comforting a classmate or diffusing a fight with a family member are all examples of success in their own way.
We all have goals, even our teens. Whether they’re life-altering, career-enhancing or just tied to our daily life, remember to celebrate these milestones with them. Don’t forget to embrace both the destination of the goal and the journey it took to get there. You’re their greatest encourager, so don’t hold back!
There are so many kinds of success, and weighing them equally will teach them to see the good in their lives, practice gratitude and be fully aware of their unique skills, traits and abilities.