You are a role model to your child. Considering that you’re the type of parent to read parenting blogs, you are already trying to set a good example. Being your kid’s role model may be a lot of pressure, but you might be influencing them in all the right ways without even knowing it. Your stick-to-it attitude and impeccable work ethic are changing your kids for the better. They may not always do as you say, but they will eventually do as you do.
As a parent, you know that you have to earn your child’s respect over and over. We are all flawed human beings, and it can be nerve wracking to worry about your kid’s opinion about you. When you are open with your kids about how hard you work, they will respect you for it. It’s important to be positive and discuss the value of your efforts. Complaining about your long day won’t gain you any favors, but discussing the awesome project you’re working on and the difficult problems that you are solving will catch their attention.
You’ll see this respect start to manifest toward the rest of the family, as well. As your children gain respect for your hard work, they will work hard to maintain family relationships and spaces. They may start to show more care for the home, be prompt and respect your time, or respect each other’s boundaries. Most of all, they will start to respect your feedback. They will want your advice and praise for their own efforts.
Your work ethic reflects your values, and soon your children will adopt their own values based on your positive influence. The way you talk about and model hard work will be the key to which values they develop. Responsibility is the core of a strong work ethic. Discuss the goals and expectations you have, and model the planning process for your kids. Talk about your accomplishments as rewards in and of themselves. Appreciating accomplishment is a strong internal incentive, and eventually a personal value. Of course, a strong work ethic doesn’t mean you don’t have balance in your life. Discussing your survival techniques with your kids will help them see the healthy way to work hard! If you talk about what you think success is and what it takes to reach it, they will start to form their own opinions and be stronger in their beliefs.
When you work hard, your kids will work hard for you. It all comes back to respect and values. You’ve had a long work week. You’re stressed and tired. If you are lazy all weekend, but yell at the kids to mow the lawn and do the dishes, guess what? They are going to resent you for it. Remember, they went to school all week. It may not seem as stressful and exhausting to you, but it’s all they know to compare work to. That being said, if you’re retiling the bathroom and ask them to help out by folding the laundry, they will probably pitch in. Kids don’t want to do things they don’t think you would do yourself, but they understand the value of helping out around the house. Especially when you teach them to balance work and play, which they are also benefiting from! Be open with your kids about your expectations. You want them to do a reasonable amount at home so that everyone has more time for fun. Make sure you get to have some fun, too!
If you really need that lazy weekend, try talking to your kids about it and offering them the choice. You need to rest and relax, give them the option to do that too. Just let them know that the consequence will be more work later, when the laundry isn’t done and there is nothing left to eat in the house.
The correlation between hard work and grades is a given, but did you know there is a correlation between your hard work and their grades? There certainly is. By modeling a healthy work ethic and a positive attitude, you are teaching your kids to enjoy meeting the challenges of school. Learning can be hard, especially as they reach the upper grades. It is important that kids appreciate the value of the work, not just the outcome. An intelligent kid may make excellent grades all the time, but what happens when they don’t get a concept? They don’t know how to handle it when learning isn’t “easy”. It’s the classic story of the smart kid who ends up failing a grade. It isn’t that they aren’t trying, it’s that they don’t know how to work hard.
Kids who appreciate a challenge will do great, regardless of bumps in the road. They may fail a test or even an entire class, but it will still be a learning opportunity. They will pick themselves up from those disappointments and plan their attack to conquer that class next time. Your work ethic helps your kids develop the resiliency and growth mindset necessary to be successful throughout their school years!
Basically, your work ethic today will influence your child’s future. Watching you as a model, they will gain the respect and values necessary to make positive choices. They will seek out opportunities and experiences, like getting their first real job. They will do better in school because of their resiliency and appreciation for the process. As adults, they will be driven and focused on their goals.
I can’t guarantee that your work ethic will turn your baby into a billionaire. I can guarantee that they are watching you. They see you work hard. The more you share your experiences and motivations with your children, the more they will internalize them. In the end, they will be successful because they will know what they want and how to work hard to get it.
Ron Stefanski is the founder of JobsForTeensHQ.com and has a passion for helping teenagers find jobs. He created the website because he feels that teenagers need to focus on their professional passions much earlier in life and aims to teach them how they can do that. When he’s not working on his website, Ron is a college professor and loves to travel the world.