In today’s society which is taking new turns at record speeds, it’s crucial for parents to raise resilient kids who can adapt and thrive despite life’s challenges. We all aim to raise successful children, but are we all taking thousands of small steps per month to achieve that?
Every decision we make alters our child’s trajectory a small amount, either towards our goal or away from our goal. I’ve consistently found that conservative parenting offers a strong foundation for helping my children develop the characteristics of what I consider to be successful children.
In this article, I’ll explore and explain the role of conservative parenting in a dramatically-changing society, the benefits of discipline, the impact of instant gratification on resilience, and strategies for teaching resilience at home. We’ll also discuss the role of schools and communities in raising resilient kids and how to balance conservative parenting with modern societal influences.
Raising resilient kids is all about helping them develop the skills and mindset to cope with life’s inevitable ups and downs. It’s about instilling in them the characteristics of successful children, such as perseverance, adaptability, and a positive attitude. As parents, we want our kids to not only survive but also thrive in challenging situations. Bar-none, Resilient kids are better equipped to handle setbacks, learn from their mistakes, and bounce back stronger than ever.
I am a computer scientist by trade, and I’m quite worried about the infinite ways our children are steeped in technology which is being misused by children and adults. More abstractly but equally as worrisome, there is an increasingly globalized world, and shifting social norms (can we still use that word?), and our children will face challenges that we could never have imagined. By focusing on conservative parenting principles that emphasize discipline, hard work, and self-reliance, we can provide our kids with the tools they need to navigate these uncertain times and ultimately succeed in life.
Conservative parenting can be described as a parenting style that emphasizes structure, rules, and high expectations for behavior and achievement. It typically involves setting clear boundaries, enforcing consequences, and fostering a strong work ethic. In today’s society where there is no longer a sense of what is right/wrong/good/bad, conservative parenting can provide a stable foundation for kids, helping them develop the characteristics of successful children.
One of the key aspects of conservative parenting is instilling a strong sense of responsibility in our children. This means teaching them the importance of hard work, perseverance, and accountability. By holding our kids accountable for their actions and helping them understand the consequences of their choices, we’re preparing them to navigate the complexities of modern life. Regardless of how much society wants to say that everything is tolerated, human nature gives us all preferences and expectations of one another. Rather than feel conflicted about this, conservative parenting clearly defines the expectations of a child and holds them accountable for their actions; the child understands what a proper outcome is, and that they are supposed to produce a proper outcome.
In addition, conservative parenting encourages kids to develop a strong sense of self-reliance. In today’s world, where change is constant and uncertainty is the norm (and where the word “normal” has no meaning and is no longer tolerated…), it’s crucial that our children learn how to rely on themselves and find solutions to problems.
Just because some parents choose to raise their children to believe the world should accept everything about them “as-is” does not mean anyone will. Statistically, there is absolutely no chance that the general population will make exceptions for an underprepared young adult, and that person will be left in a very confused and unequipped state to face the mountain of adversity they were set up for. That’s a shame. That’s the antithesis of what we desire for our kids.
By fostering self-reliance, setting expectations, and holding our children accountable to proper outcomes, we’re equipping our kids with the skills, building the confidence, and reinforcing the resourcefulness they’ll need to tackle life’s challenges head-on.
The characteristics of successful children are varied and can include qualities such as resilience, adaptability, strong work ethic, and emotional intelligence. These traits can be nurtured through conservative parenting practices that emphasize discipline, responsibility, and self-reliance.
One of the most important characteristics of successful children is resilience, or the ability to bounce back from setbacks and adversity. Resilient kids are able to cope with stress, learn from their mistakes (reflection), and persevere in the face of challenges. By teaching our children the value of hard work and the importance of facing obstacles head-on, we can help them develop the resilience they’ll need to succeed in life.
Adaptability is another key characteristic of successful children. In a fast-changing society, it’s crucial that our kids learn how to adapt to new situations and environments. Conservative parenting can help foster adaptability by encouraging (or setting up opportunities for) kids to step out of their comfort zones and embrace change.
“Get comfortable being uncomfortable” is a simple mantra to start at a young age. Face the fears: have kids order their own food, ride the bike without training wheels and fall a few times. Stand up for themselves at the playground, clean their rooms, do their homework before dinner time, and accept the reality that they will lose their absolute favorite toy for misbehaving, and will lose another for losing control of their emotions afterward. Now is the time to teach them self-control and self-discipline, and the repercussions of not meeting expectations. Make such an exercise a regular part of life.
A strong work ethic is another characteristic of successful children. By instilling a sense of responsibility and accountability in our kids, we’re teaching them the importance of hard work and perseverance. This not only sets them up for success in academics and their future careers but also helps them develop the grit and determination they’ll need to overcome life’s challenges, ultimately leading to a life where they are able to change everything in their control for the better.
Discipline plays a crucial role in child development, helping to shape the characteristics of successful children. It’s essential for helping kids learn self-control, develop positive habits, and understand the consequences of their actions. The benefits of discipline include:
Instant gratification is increasingly becoming the norm. I don’t necessarily mean this to be as obvious as “kids get candy when they want”. With technology providing immediate access to information, entertainment, and social connections, our kids are growing up in an environment where they expect to get results when they want, and when they want it. While it may seem harmless, this constant quest for instant gratification can have a detrimental impact on our children’s resilience and the development of the characteristics of successful children.
“I want food delivered: done“
“I want answers to my question: done“
“I want to see a tutorial of how to do a back handspring: done“
“I want to do my own back handspring……wait what do you mean I have to practice it? UGH“
One of the reasons why instant gratification is bad is that it can erode our children’s ability to persevere and work towards long-term goals. When kids grow accustomed to getting what they want immediately, they’re less likely to develop the patience and persistence needed to overcome challenges and achieve success.
Instant gratification can also hinder the development of self-control and self-regulation, which are essential for resilience. When kids constantly give in to their immediate desires, they’re less likely to learn how to manage their impulses and make responsible decisions.
To counteract the negative effects of instant gratification, it’s crucial for parents to establish clear boundaries and enforce consequences, helping kids understand that they can’t always get what they want when they want it. By teaching our children the value of patience and delayed gratification, we’re helping them develop the resilience they’ll need to excel and thrive in society.
Interestingly, the fewer people learn this, the fewer workers there will be, and the fewer services will be available to your child. This goes back to the importance of self-reliance. All of these attributes of conservative parenting are all connected, and it all leads to a more successful child.
We want to ensure our children grow up to be successful, happy individuals, and we understand this is achieved through an enduring exercise of postponing gratification. Saving money for a toy is a necessary and simple exercise. Sticking to our commitments (like a sports team) is a necessary exercise, because there will be days that he/she doesn’t “feel” like going and that’s simply not acceptable (i.e. doesn’t align with expectations) when a team is relying on the child to be there.
Teaching resilience at home starts with creating a supportive and loving environment where children feel comfortable expressing their emotions and discussing their challenges. I know that doesn’t sound like what people think of when they hear “conservative” (because they only think of Bibles and guns rather than the whole picture), but it truly is fundamental. It helps the child through moments where she really wants to spend that $3 on candy but understands that she needs $20 to get to the doll she really wants. It helps him understand he’s feeling tired and doesn’t want to play soccer, but then the team won’t have enough kids for a fair match.
By learning the value of patience and persistence, your children will develop the ability to overcome obstacles and remain focused on their goals, even when faced with setbacks.
While parents play a significant role in teaching resilience, schools and communities are also supposed to part to play in raising resilient kids. Teachers should also strive to instill a growth mindset in their students, encouraging them to view setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning. I use words like “supposed to” and “should” because I really don’t see that anymore, which is why we homeschool our 3 kids despite having high-ranking public, charter, and private schools around us. That is a conversation for another day.
The point is that the other adult influences in the child’s life should be in alignment with the fundamental principles discussed in this article, and any malignment will be confusing and detrimental to your efforts.
Schools, private sports clubs, rec leagues, or co-op groups can offer programs and activities that focus on building resilience, such as team sports, clubs, and community service opportunities. These activities not only teach children important social and emotional skills but also provide them with a sense of belonging and purpose.
Communities also play a crucial role in raising resilient kids. This is going to be something you will have to evaluate; some communities will support your efforts and others will do the opposite or anywhere in between. If you are fortunate enouhg to have a community that aligns with your values, it will ease your mind to know that there will be a consistency in education, discipline, expectations, and accountability across the board.
The previous section is a great segue to talking about the challenging balance of conservative parenting values with modern societal influences.
It’s important to find a balance between setting boundaries and allowing our children to explore and learn from the world around them. To navigate this, open lines of communication with your children are mandatory, discussing their experiences and thoughts on various topics and situations. I like to let my child describe the experience to me, and I usually ask a few questions to gauge how they interpreted it. It always results in great conversation and gives me the opportunity to ensure the development of their thoughts is on track. (Yes, “on track” because I am responsible for that path while my children are young, and I accept the responsibility for managing that pathway. That sounds like conservative parenting!)
A granted strategy is to be a positive role model, demonstrating the values and behaviors you wish to instill in your children. Your child is watching all the time; do you want them to copy your behavior? By being consistent in your own actions, your children will be more likely to adopt these values themselves, and that can be a blessing when done correctly.
Finally, make an effort to stay informed about current trends and societal influences, and be prepared to adapt your parenting style as needed. By staying engaged with your children’s lives and interests, you can help guide them through the challenges of growing up in a grossly-changing society while still instilling the core values that will help them become resilient individuals. Admittedly, this is part of the reason we homeschool; we believe in creating a very, very strong family bond and reinforcing it as much as possible during these years (at the time of writing this, our children are 4, 7, 8).
In conclusion, raising resilient children is essential for their future success and well-being. By teaching resilience at home, supporting their growth through teaching intangible life skills, and balancing conservative parenting with modern societal influences, we can help our children develop the characteristics of successful children. As parents, it’s our responsibility to guide our children through the challenges of growing up in an untamed, evolving society and instill in them the values and skills that will help them become resilient, successful individuals. By doing so, we are not only shaping their future but also contributing to the betterment of our society as a whole. Empower and equip each individual child with the tools they need to endure any path they choose.