My dad had dreams of owning a business and building it into something special. His father was a very successful businessman and I think he may have wanted to follow in his footsteps. After a number of years, he finally went for it. Unfortunately, it ended in failure. I went out to dinner with my dad a year before he passed away. During that dinner, he revealed that he viewed himself as a failure. I told him I thought he was a success. When he asked why I thought that, I listed all of his attributes as a father. I told him whatever he did in business didn’t matter to me. The only thing I cared about was how he loved his family.
Want to learn how to be successful in life? Well, success in life includes your role as a parent. Here are 7 characteristics of successful parents.
1. Successful parents don’t expect perfection.Successful parents don’t expect perfection either from themselves or their children.
Parenting is an art, not a science. Successful parents understand that just like themselves, their children aren’t perfect either. This frees them to love their children unreservedly.
2. Successful parents don’t fear failure.
One of the best ways to learn how to be successful in life is through failure. Successful parents understand that mistakes are a normal even healthy part of parenting. They make the best decisions they can and when they’re wrong, they learn from their mistakes, and they try to do better the next time.
3. Successful parents don’t expect smooth sailing.
Children have their own opinions, personalities, and preferences. Inevitably, they cause us to say “Where did THAT come from?” or “What were you THINKING?” Our responsibility to provide them with limits and guidance will sometimes clash with their growing desire for independence. Successful parents aren’t surprised by those clashes—they expect them. But successful parents understand that their responsibility to their children is not to always please them or make them happy. It’s to make the hard decisions that will be for their best in the long run.
4. Successful parents don’t go it alone.
Successful parenting means trusting yourself, but not being a lone ranger. No one has the experience or answers to every parenting challenge. But each of us has some of the answers and, together, we’ve got them all. So successful parents aren’t reluctant to seek out the wisdom of others. They know that, at the end of the day, the decision is theirs, but before they get there, there is plenty of wisdom along the way waiting to help them.
5. Successful parents try harder.
Learning how to be successful in life often involves handling pressure. Successful people face the same pressures we all do—demanding jobs, spouses, and children who need them. But they live by this rule: “You get back what you put in.” They have a clear sense of priority for their family and are willing to put in the time to achieve it. They give more than the “average parent” so their children will be more than just “average children.” These parents work at nurturing and developing themselves to be the best parents they can be.
6. Successful parents enjoy being parents.
They enjoy parenting not because it’s easy or instantly rewarding, but because of the sheer joy and privilege of cooperating with God in shaping another unique and precious life. Any parent of grown children will tell you how fast they grow up. Successful parents remind themselves of that and try to savor every day with their children. They immerse themselves in their children as much as possible and just enjoy them, even the days of dirty diapers, illness, and disappointments. They don’t just love their children. They like them and look forward to spending time with them.
7. Successful parents strive to be the person they want their children to become.
There are no formulas for parents. You can’t just program children like a computer and be guaranteed of the result. But children are great observers and imitators. They watch, listen, and absorb values and habits from the people who have the greatest influence on them: their parents. So successful parents resolve that they will set the best example they can for their children.
Sound off: What else do you think makes someone a successful parent?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you think it means to be successful?”