Wanting your kid to win at life.
It’s totally natural, but what on earth do I do to ensure this happens you might be asking.
We don’t want to claim to have all the answers, but these tips should be able to be applied more or less to all young people growing up into adulthood today.
Here’s what we suggest.
- Encourage independence
We get it.
It can be so tempting to want to make life decisions for your child – I mean, we know them better than anyone else right? And we want to avoid seeing them suffer unnecessarily.
But parents of successful children try to resist that urge and instead encourage their kids to make age-appropriate choices for themselves.
Sure, you might be able to see what their strengths and weaknesses are, but a big part of growing up is figuring that out for yourself.
The best ways to do that?
Firstly, don’t do for your child what they can do for themselves.
Secondly, build decision-making opportunities into each day to help your child get used to the expectation that they need to think for themselves.
Thirdly, promote problem-solving. That means resisting the urge to jump in and fix their problems and instead supporting them to find their own solutions.
- Encourage the pursuit and practice of hobbies
Repeat after us: hobbies are not a waste of time.
Whether it’s learning an instrument, playing a sport or even playing video games, there are an incredible number of benefits in pursuing a hobby aside from simply having fun – from learning valuable life skills to reducing stress.
But while it’s important to encourage your child to develop new activities, never rush or force them into anything.
You should also be there to support them (rather than criticise) if they experience challenges or failures in achieving their goals in their hobbies and extracurricular activities.
- Support their passions
Help them understand their intrinsic motivations, which studies show are inherently rewarding to pursue because they satisfy innate psychological needs for autonomy, competence and growth long-term.
When you’re intrinsically motivated you do something because you enjoy it and get personal satisfaction from doing it, which American researchers Tim Kasser, Peter Schmuck and Richard Ryan say make people significantly happier and are less inclined to feel depressed and anxious with the work they do than if they focus on extrinsic motivations, like fame, money and status.
This could look a little something like allowing your Gen Z child to choose their school subjects based on what they’re genuinely interested in and passionate about and not what they think will make them look good to others, what will make mum and dad happy or what will make them rich and famous down the track.
In our After the ATAR III report when we asked young people what areas their passions fall into, the number one was artistic/creative (56%), followed by academic (43%), sport/fitness (37%), social (35%), environmental (31%), community (28%), work (20%), technology (19%), charity (19%), cultural (17%) and religious (11%).
As this shows, passions can be found in all parts of life.
- Teach them financial literacy
Sure we might learn about econ and maths in school, but when it comes to actually using money in everyday life?
Well, our latest research found less than two thirds (62%) of teenagers know what the term financial literacy means. When we informed them financial literacy is all about having the understanding and skills you need to make good decisions with your money, we then asked them how confident they felt in their financial literacy right now. In response 21% said very confident, 59% said somewhat confident, 16% said somewhat unconfident while 4% said very unconfident.
If your child is one of the majority of young Australians who say they don’t feel very confident in their financial literacy, we’ve got you covered.
At Year13 we teamed up with Westpac to create the FinLit Academy, which helps teach young Australians the skills they need to make good decisions about how to earn, spend and save their cash in the big wide world they’re entering into, from first jobs to first Euro trips.
The best part?
Not only is the course totally free, but for each module completed there’s a $250 gift voucher up for grabs to help cover groceries, fuel and lifestyle expenses to help a Gen Z put some of FinLit’s budgeting tips into practice.