How to Instill a Positive Work Ethic
in Your Children
By Tyler Jacobson
How to Instill a Positive Work Ethic in Your Children
As parents, it’s natural to want your child to achieve great things and have a bright future. By teaching your children with certain principles, this becomes a foundation for success academically, financially, and socially. It’s critical to establish positive attitudes toward work and goals to foster this success. It’s important to do more than talk about what a good work ethic is. You must also demonstrate it and facilitate their independence. Let’s explore ways to instill a positive work ethic in your children.
Create and Maintain Boundaries
Boundaries teach children that there are consequences to their behavior (good and bad). When it comes to teaching your children the value of work, positive encouragement and rewards are a huge tool. When your expectations for their behavior and responsibilities are clear, they can choose to act, or not, and have a clear expectation of what the consequences to those actions will be. A positive result is a huge motivator for kids to meet your expectations.
Set the Example
Children are heavily influenced by their caregivers. We see this in their behavior as they mimic a parent’s conflict skills. When parents yell and force behavior, children will do the same. Children are also very prone to mimic your work ethic - if they’ve been included in the work. Showing your child that you are disciplined will more likely result in a disciplined child. But what’s key to this tip is actually including them in the work. It’s usually easier to clean the bathroom yourself but taking the time to teach your child how to use the cleaning supplies and clean the bathroom comes with so many more benefits.
Chores Build Accountability
Giving a child a regular schedule for chores is a great way to instill a work ethic. You can prepare children to take care of themselves by starting with small tasks, like cleaning up their toys. As they get better at these menial tasks, their ability to handle more responsibility grows. As they learn to care for themselves, they can then begin to take care of others. But as long as a caregiver hovers and does all of the work for the child, the child will not learn valuable lessons in caring for themselves and lack foundation skills they need to be successful adults and parents.
Independence allows a child to choose and act for themselves. Experiencing the natural consequences of their own choices is the greatest learning tool available to them. There are so many opportunities every day to allow your child more freedom and independence to make life choices. As children, the consequences of their actions are small, but the lessons are powerful. As they reach their teen years, the consequences become more life-altering. You must prepare them to go out into the world, which can be an unforgiving place. These are five areas of independence that are a great starting point for your teen to make their own choices and see manageable consequences from them:
- Financial independence: teach them how to save money, understand budgeting, and have a good understanding of the basics of credit and banking
- Healthy living: for this area, there are many different elements to ensure healthy living including how to cook, read nutritional information, manage time, develop proper hygiene, and more
- Positive work ethic: this principle focuses on being ready for the working world such as developing good study habits, being able to accept constructive criticism, and how to interview for a job
- Interpersonal and social skills: these concepts are all about helping your child develop good relationships and understand and handle their own emotions
- Basic life survival skills: these things everyone needs to know to make it in the real world from how to maintain a car to how to do laundry
Expose Kids to Examples of Hard Work
Every kid has a hero, and most likely it’s a famous athlete, singer, or actor. There is nothing wrong with having these types of heroes because most of the people in this category do work hard. However, dig deeper with your child into the lives of these people they look up to. Most children don’t recognize the hours their heroes put into practice every day. They don’t hear about the many times that hero had failed or been rejected on their path to success. These are key elements to the story that your child can benefit from hearing. They will experience rejection and failure in their own lives but if they’re equipped with the knowledge of their heroes' experiences with failure, they can use this info to motivate themselves, get back up, and try again.
Positive Approach to Instilling a Good Work Ethic
It’s critical to be positive in your pursuit to teach your kids to have a healthy work ethic. Displaying anger when they fail to meet your expectations could do more damage than good, as they begin to believe they can never meet expectations and give up. Having a positive approach to teaching your kids about work ethic means you are encouraging them while also setting the necessary boundaries. They will, of course, make mistakes, but you’ll find that letting them learn from them rather than just correcting them is more advantageous to their growth.
At Trans4mind, we created the Positive Approach, a personal development course by Trans4mind founder and psychologist Peter Shepherd. This free course could be a benefit for both you and your children, helping you construct a positive framework for learning and growth. Read more about the course and each session here.
From the mountains of Utah, Tyler Jacobson writes about his experiences as a father and husband. By sharing the struggles and solutions his family has faced, Tyler hopes to help other parents looking for a way to better their lives. You can connect with Tyler and read his helpful insights on Twitter.