Today I made you a list of seven skills every parent should teach their kids to lead them towards a better life. Here they are:

1. Financial independence 

Money brings happiness —at least part of it— so you’d better teach your kid about how to make it, save it and spend it. Here’s how:

Encourage them to save: Buy a saving jar, or open them a bank account then reward any saving behavior by using the money they save (or part of it) to get them something they want.

Highlight the importance of work: Encourage them to get a summer job to learn what it means to be responsible.. Babysitting or a lemonade stand will work just fine.
Let them work for the flashy stuff they ask for (an Xbox or a new phone). Soon enough they’ll grow and learn that life doesn’t offer things like that for free so they’d better start now. Get them to mow the lawn, paint the garage or do extra choirs for X days. And always make it clear that you’re doing this not to enslave but to get them ready for the future.

Lead by example: Teach your kids about buying only the things they can afford lead by example through your debt management.

Teach them how to shop wisely: Build the habit of using a 7-day shopping rule with them. Whenever they want something of great value, suggest waiting for a week before getting it. Lecture them about impulsive buying and why patience is a rare virtue in today’s world.

2. Reading

You get ahead in life using two things: what you know and how hard you work. So make sure your kids build the habit of knowing things —i.e., reading—so their hard work doesn’t go in vain.

So how to do it? Before the digital age, my mom used to buy me a book whenever we go out, and I grew up to read one book/week ever since. You can make your kid fall for books too by investing in their own library.

Read for them before bed, tell them stories, and take them with you if you —like me— like to buy books the old way (damn you Kindle). Let them choose their own books and make it clear that it’s okay to ask for money as long as they use it for brain food.

3. How to cope with negative emotions

The older we get, the harder we can get rid of our past baggage and negative self-talk. Even though men and women process emotions differently, their way of managing self-talk is universal, so you should teach your kid how to handle that inner voice when they feel bad or when the going gets tough.

The first step is to stop being the cause. Yelling at your kid won’t bring the best out of him (it’s what studies say). Even if it does, they’ll grow emotionally distorted and will hate you for it. So, you need to watch out.

Secondly, teach them about winning and what to expect from the world. Let them know that:

• Confidence comes from hard work and proper training.
• Winning comes to the hardest-working guy/gal in the room and that it’s up to them to change the outcome of things by doing enough of the hard work. They must know that they own their destiny.
• There will be struggles, and they must learn to work on their self-talk if they want to survive the hustle.
• Fear, doubt, and pain are humanly normal. However, they are emotions to overcome NOT things to feel ashamed of.

You must also interfere anytime you hear the words, “I can’t and I never,” and don’t say them yourself. Be their role model when it comes to hard work. Work your butt off, show your successes and tell your kid about how others have made their own. Demand nothing but hard work and always reward them for doing their best.

I read, in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s autobiography, that his father made him earn his meals by doing pushups and sit-ups after he saw his son’s passion for bodybuilding. It wasn’t a punishment but rather a message that hard work is always rewarded and young Arnold grew up to appreciate that.

4. Teach them to love exercising for what it really is

Let your kid understand that working out is a habit smart people use to practice self-discipline and perseverance —the same two skills required to create happiness and prosperity.

People who approach exercising this way do it longer and outlive those who see working out as a chore or something they temporarily do just to get laid.

And again, you must shake that butt and stop being a couch potato. Like I said: Lead by example.

5. Reading and leading people

Part of your kid’s future success and happiness will come down to their social skill and support system. Studies have found, time and time again, that loneliness can be tied to poor social skills. So, you should teach the kids some skills to survive and thrive around people early on and before social anxiety cripples over them.

The best approach is to teach your kid how to read and lead people. Here’s how:

Social-skill #1: Reading people

This is a skill every kid should learn. Studies have found that emotionally intelligent people —those who can understand themselves as well as others intensely— live happier and make more money than their peers. They are exciting and very understanding, and people love them.

You can improve your kid’s emotional intelligence through:

• Word games: Word games will expand their word choice which will make help them find the right word in almost every situation.

• Reading body language and emotional states: Teach your kid the basics of body language and what every facial expression means on the inside. Make those games fun.

• Active listening: You don’t have to coach your kid to listen attentively, but you still can teach them why it’s important to be a good listener.

Social-skill #2: Leadership

Give your kids the opportunity to stand out and handle responsibilities. Treat him or her as an adult, not like a little loser you bring to this world.

Show respect when you talk to them, encourage them to speak up for themselves, help them find solutions to their problems and let them handle things that may not mean anything to you but means the world to them like handing money to the valet or welcoming a guest.

6. Self-defense 

There’s a lot of confidence kids will get when they know they’re well-equipped to kick anybody’s ass when needed —be it a bully or a pervert. So, give their confidence a boost and find them a self-defense class they love.

7. Goal setting

Your kid must learn the art of winning and getting things done. Let them understand how achievements are made by helping them set goals for the future. The easiest goal-setting approach I ever found is to let them pick a tangible goal (you know, SMART), then help them divide this one, or two goals, into anything between two and five sub-goals followed by these questions:

• I believe I can achieve this goal because…
• To achieve this sub-goal I will…
• This sub-goal will be achieved by the following date….
• My reward for achieving this will be

Psychologist Richard Wiseman uses this approach for goal-setting and he swears by it. Once you implement it, step aside a little and every once in a while asking about their progress.

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