Children may just be the wisest among our humans. Where grown-ups see obstacles, children only see wonderful opportunities. They dream, make huge plans about their future. There are times when they have a deeper yet simpler understanding of things than the rest of us. Sure, there are times when their wish is to become Superman or Wonder Woman when they grow up, and the amazing truth is, everything they imagine can actually become reality, everything but a superhero with superpowers that is. Of course, as a good parent, you only want your child to be happy, and to grow up into a great and happy adult. The role a parent plays in a child’s life is an indispensable one. You are their hero, their inspiration and guide, and that is precisely why you should always strive to live up to that image and furthermore not only believe in your kids’ dreams, but also do everything in your power to help them accomplish everything they envision. It’s not that difficult really, and with a few easy steps, you will become the person they believe you are.

It’s about them

One of the first traps many parents fall into is not listening to their children and not valuing their opinions. A leaflet comprised of several case studies published by the National Children’s Bureau emphasizes the importance of listening to children, not only regarding their aspirations but everyday life. It also teaches parents how to develop their listening skills. Taking your kid’s viewpoints has a great impact on their future self-esteem. It doesn’t only make them feel heard, but also valued, and these little moments will enable them to dream big, unconstrained and go after their dreams. On that note, never tell them their dreams are silly, that is a very grown-up thing to do, and not in a good way. Perhaps your dreams didn’t come true, but remember, this is not about you, it’s about them. Therefore, when they share their little big goals, don’t crush them. Instead, crush the cynic within and get on board with the silly dreams.

When you lead, I will follow

As said, children are incredibly wise and perceptive. That means that what you say won’t have a huge effect on them in comparison to what you do. If you want to teach your kids to believe in themselves, you need to be a confident person. You need to be fearless, never forget to stand up for yourself. You don’t have to have a high-powered career in order to be seen as a role model. All you have to be is the best version of yourself, and your kids will pick up on that and follow suit.

Learn to let go

Yet another mistake parents make, especially young parents of today, is keeping their children in a bubble. Let them explore the world, in all its messiness. Foster friendships and give your kid a chance to see the world just as it is. Also, when the time comes for them to leave the nest, go off into the world, perhaps college overseas, don’t think about your needs and desires for them to stay close. You can support them in planing their future, but don’t try to influence it. The choice of college should be their own and no one else’s, parents can help provide some great insights like which are the best return on investment colleges or what vocations are currently in demand. In the end, your child needs to decide for themselves otherwise they might end up dissatisfied with their life choices and blame you for it.

Create a supportive and inspiring environment

Criticism from an early age could not be farther from healthy. Don’t hinder your kids’ self-confidence by criticizing their every move. Yes, sometimes they won’t be the best, but that’s ok, because what are failures but learning opportunities. When they’re not at the top of their game help them draw lessons instead of putting them down. Of course, when they’re amazing at something, shout it out and make them know just how proud you are. Finally, it’s crucial that you find the middle ground between praise and constructive advice when they don’t do their best, as according to Paul Donahue, PhD putting kids on a pedestal at an early age can actually hinder their growth.

Listen, encourage, let them fly and hope for the best. If you raised your kids in a loving, supportive home, they might actually end up surpassing not only your expectations but their own as well.

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