1. YOUR KID IS NOT KING: You’re raising your kid to be a member of the human race, a society, a community, a family – not to be the center of attention.
2. REAL LIFE IS DISAPPOINTING: Learning early to handle disappointments well helps your kid become confident, self-governing and optimistic in a world full of limitations.
3. AUTONOMY IS THE GOAL: Effective self-governance and healthy self-esteem come from knowing our strengths and weaknesses in doing things in the real world and getting feedback, not from excessive encouragement or praise.
4. DON’T FEED YOUR KID JUNK PRAISE: Junk praise (for example, “Great job!” for ordinary activities), like junk food, is addictive and takes the place of developing inner wisdom that is necessary for skillful decision-making.
5. RESILIENCE COMES FROM BEING FLEXIBLE: Don’t protect your child from making mistakes, encountering failures or knowing the limitations (of self and other) that teach us how to be flexible in facing the expectable challenges of life.
6. HELP YOUR CHILD HAVE PATIENCE WITH TALENTS AND CREATIVITY: Diligence and patience are necessary for true creativity to develop; it takes about ten years to become truly creative in any field.
7. KINDNESS AND GENEROSITY BRING THE GREATEST HAPPINESS: Guide your child to be compassionate and helpful to others. Teach your kid to look around and see who needs help, assistance, or support in any moment (not just special occasions). There are countless opportunities to feel happy as a result of helping.
8. GOOD CHARACTER WINS: Good manners, good conscience and virtue are the requirements for good character that provides the best foundation for success.
9. BE AN EXAMPLE IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS: Show respect, kindness and interest in your own parents, partner and elders. If you don’t, your child will not show a lasting interest in elders and other family members, including you.
10. TEACH YOUR KID HOW TO BECOME A MEMBER: Belonging to a family means more than being born into it. All kids should be taught to contribute to the welfare, celebration and cooperation of their families throughout the life span, becoming valuable members.
By Polly Young-Eisendrath, PhD, author of The Self-Esteem Trap: Raising Confident and Compassionate Kids in an Age of Self-Importance.