Parenting Tips From Esther Wojcicki – Mother Of Two Successful CEOs And A Doctor
Parenting practices around the world share three major goals which include ensuring children’s health and safety and preparing children for life as productive adults. A good parent is someone who strives to make decisions in the best interest of the child. Successful parenting is not about achieving perfection. However, it doesn’t mean that parents shouldn’t work towards that goal.
Recently, Esther Wojcicki, who is an educator, journalist, and bestselling author of “How to Raise Successful People” shared her insights on various parenting styles and how can one positively raise their children.
Esther raised two successful CEOs and a doctor – Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, Janet a doctor, and Anne, co-founder and CEO of 23andMe. All of them rose to the top of ultra-competitive, male-dominated professions.
While sharing her thoughts on parenting, Esther stated, “Based on my experience and research, I believe “helicopter parenting” is the most toxic.”
- What Is Helicopter Parenting?
Helicopter parenting — sometimes called “snowplow parenting” — is when you constantly remove obstacles so that your kids don’t have to deal with challenges and frustrations.
“This form of hyper-involvement disempowers children; you’re essentially doing everything for them and making sure all their needs are met even before you know they have a need.
Studies say it also hurts kids’ abilities to develop self-control, and problem-solving skills, navigate conflict on their own and create an identity separate from their parents.
Helicopter parents have the best of intentions, but the outcomes are the opposite of what they want — they are producing kids who are afraid to take risks, always need help, and lack creativity.
My friend Maye Musk, a successful model and the mother of Elon Musk, agrees on the harmful effects of helicopter parenting.
She never checked her kids’ homework. She couldn’t. She was working five jobs to make ends meet. When their homework required a parent’s approval, she had them practice her signature so they could sign for her.
“I didn’t have time,” she told me, “and it was their work.”
That’s exactly what kids need today — to not be controlled or overprotected, but allowed to take responsibility for their own lives,” Esther wrote.
- How To Find The Right Balance?
In her opinion, when it comes to parenting styles it’s all about finding the right balance. “Parents should not go to the other extreme. You don’t send kids out alone to go shopping when they are five years old or expect them to make dinner when they’re 10. Give them age-appropriate challenges,” Esther said.
“The goal is to have them be proud of the job they do, a job that is theirs and theirs alone. They’ll build skills toward independence and also learn to help out around the house.
It could be in the kitchen cooking, for example. We all cook. Teach your kid how to make their breakfast. They can pour cereal and milk. Older kids can make scrambled eggs. Or they can all learn to make a salad. It’s so simple: Wash the lettuce, cut a tomato or an avocado, add dressing … and voilà!”
- The TRICK To Raising Successful Kids
Both parents and teachers can empower kids to be independent thinkers, work with their peers, and build up their self-confidence.
“I recommend following TRICK, an acronym for Trust, Respect, Independence, Collaboration and Kindness,” Esther said.
Trust: Trust has to start with us, the parents. When we’re confident in the choices we make, we can then trust our kids to take the necessary steps toward empowerment.
Respect: Every child has a gift, and it’s our responsibility to nurture that gift. This is the opposite of telling them who to be, what profession to pursue, and what their life should look like.
Independence: This relies upon a strong foundation of trust and respect. Truly independent kids are capable of coping with adversity, setbacks and boredom — all unavoidable aspects of life.
Collaboration: Collaboration means working together as a family, in a classroom or at a workplace. For parents, it means encouraging kids to contribute to discussions, decisions and even discipline.
Kindness: Real kindness involves gratitude and forgiveness, service toward others, and an awareness of the world outside yourself.
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