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One of the best skills that you can develop in your young child is the ability to lead. Leadership is one of those skills that can help them get to the next level in life skills and relationships. When a boss is looking to promote, he will look to a leader first. When a person is being hired to manage, the leader will be the one to get the job. Even at a young age, leadership is important to a blossoming mind and personality.
If you want your child to be a leader and role model to the other children, below are some tips to get them started:
Model the behavior
First, You are your child’s biggest role model.
It is no surprise that great leaders help create great leaders. If you want a behavior from your child, you almost always have to shape that behavior. Children learn by imitating. If you walk into a room and shake hands with everyone you come into contact with, so will they. If you initiate conversations with others, mostly likely, so will they.
Teach communication skills
It probably will not shock you to hear this, but most kids are not very good listeners. Kids are born with an egocentricity. Listen to two preschoolers talk. The conversation doesn’t make sense but they are most likely relating or discussing something about or to themselves. Teaching your kid to communicate is far more about listening than speaking. Teach them to listen and you will have a budding leader on your hands. Teach them to find what people want and need, and then show them how to deliver it. That is how to build a leader.
Teach them about showing courage
Does your child know what to do if they witness a bully pushing someone around? Do they know how to safely deal with that situation in a positive way? Most kids don’t. In fact, most parents don’t realize that a big part of bullying is a team sport. It rarely is the single person walking around pushing people down like we pictured from our childhoods. It is more commonly the group of kids that are all afraid to say no teaming up on a few defenseless children that are easy targets.
Not joining the group and helping those targets is a tough thing to ask a kid to do. It means they might be included in future bullying and become a target themselves. Still, that type of courage is what makes leaders. Great men and women rarely have an easy time of it getting there.
Explain these things to your kid and tell them to report the bullies. Tell them to befriend the “targets” at their school and let them know what that could mean to them. It will take courage to be sure, but the benefits could be forever.
*Note – This section on bullying will not be for everyone, but it represents the opinion of this writer. As always, parent based on your own instincts.
Teach them to never give up
Absolutely the best lesson my Father ever gave me was to only start the things I really wanted to do, but to finish every single thing I start. If they decide to join the band, football team, chess club or whatever, make sure they see it through to the end. Anything worth starting is worth finishing.
Teach them to bring others along with them
Great leaders can not only lead the way and learn things quickly…they can also teach others to do the same. Talk with your kids about helping those around them. Tell them to seek out those that are struggling and help them along. In time, that will foster a very good self image.
Becoming a leader is not just about showing everyone what to do. It is about courage, persistence, self awareness, communication and a desire to help others. Work on cultivating those skills in your kids and you will quickly see them blossom into fine community leaders in time.
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