Out of all the difficult jobs in the world, being a parent definitely ranks up amongst the top 5.
And being just a parent, which as mentioned above, is the least herculean of all the tasks that come with parenthood. Being a responsible, competent parent is a completely different ballgame altogether. Considering the rate at which our society is making progress, it is becoming increasingly important for parents to raise kids who are able to meet with the societal demands, as efficiently as possible. And this means that the parents need to revise their definitions of responsibility and competency.
Speaking of societal demands, what are they? Gone are those times where if your kid got straight A’s in science and math, it was enough for them to get by. Today’s society does not just ask for the kids to grow up into adults who have their concepts of relativity correct, but to grow up into adults who can create some concepts of their own.
In other words, the fast-paced world that we are a part of today wants the kids of today to grow up to be the innovative adults of tomorrow.
The need for innovation is one that is hard to ignore. Innovation is one of the most sought-after traits that almost every company essentially looks for. Whilst some may argue that innovation cannot be taught, which may be true to some extent, a lot of other things can be taught that encourage you to move towards the path of innovation and consequently adopt it.
And, the earlier you start teaching those things, the better. So, in the end, the responsibility of raising kids into innovators of the future lies in the hands of parents first, and the teachers, second. Here are some parenting strategies that can help parents raise innovative kids.
1: Encouraging the Child to Make Mistakes:
Instead of pressurizing your child to be perfect and successful at all times, parents have a higher chance of bringing up an innovator if they provide them their support even when the child fails. Attempting new things and taking risks means that the chances of success and failure are almost equal. In such a situation, expecting your child to have a successful outcome always is not just unfair but also does more harm to the child’s esteem than good.
A child who notices that they are only able to get their parents’ positive regard when they are successful at doing something may never attempt something new. Why? Well, the chances of having a successful outcome when trying something new is significantly lesser than the ones brought to you by tried and tested methods.
2: Good Grades Are Not Everything:
Parents, you may want to hold on to your seats for this one.
Good grades no longer determine your child’s bright future.
Now, this is not to say that you might as well throw those textbooks out of the window. What needs to be done here is instead figuring out a way, where you balance book-smart with creative and critical thinking.
The best way to go about this is to use everyday situations that arise nowhere but in your own home. Small challenges like getting to that jar of cookies that seems out of reach can be a great example for the child to think of creative solutions.
The more your child instills the habit of thinking creatively to tackle even the simplest of problems in themselves, the more it will become easier to do the same with the bigger problems as well.
3: Opt for Un-structured Play:
Inculcating the innovative spirit in your child does not mean shoving them out in the wild and having them figure out a way for themselves using nothing but twigs and stones.
You must allow the child to enjoy their childhood and use this time period to your (and your child’s!) benefit only. Instead of buying them every other toy their tiny little heart desires, limit their toy supplies and ask them to make the most out of whatever they already have.
If they want a toy telephone, but they don’t have one, why not build a make-believe one using blocks? Your child needs to figure this out on their own, though. Do not go telling them creative shortcuts for that would defeat the purpose that we are trying to achieve here.
Blocks, clay, paints etc. are all excellent supplies that can help your child enjoy a more imaginative and creative playtime. As it is, kids are known for their imagination so why not give them the right supplies to stimulate that imagination?
4: Talk to Them, Listen to Them:
This is the perfect example of one of the most deceptively simple parenting strategies. Most parents think that they talk enough to their kids and listen to them enough as it already is. But, truth be told, it is not about how much you talk or listen to them, it is about what happens during that exchange.
It is a fact universally known that children take their parents as their first models in life. If you want the child to flex their creative muscles more, giving them a demonstration first is necessary. Talk to them about the creative solutions you came up with as a child yourself. Ask them for their feedback; what do they think you could have or should have done differently?
Not only do children really, really look up to their parents, but gaining their approval, no matter how big or small it may be, is something that means the world to them, as well. Actively listening to your child about the creative idea they just had works as a wonderful reinforcement as it lets the child know that whatever it is they have to say, matters.
It was Carl Rogers who pointed out the dangers of raising a child on conditional terms. He said that the quickest way of depriving a child from ever realizing their potential is by giving them conditional regard.
Inculcating the innovative spirit in a child becomes an easier feat when your child knows that you have their back, unconditionally.