How to develop a strong work ethic in an entitled instant gratification world?
Parents, do you ever have a difficult time getting your child to do homework? Is it a challenge to get them to do even the simplest chores around the house or just to pick up after themselves? Is it becoming increasingly difficult to get them to stop playing videos games or to put down that tablet/smartphone?
So how do you develop a strong work ethic and drive to work hard in your child? Isn't this really a key for success later in life?
Much of it comes down to one thing - DISCIPLINE. It is an over-used and misunderstood word. Parents say to me all the time "Sensei, my child needs to be more disciplined!" But what is discipline? Simply, discipline is the ability to "do what do not want to do"!
A good example is your fitness and health. We all know what we need to do to be fit and healthy right? Exercise regularly and eat right. Simple, isn’t it? But how hard is this to do? Some people exercise and eat well with ease while others struggle from the start. Why? They are "disciplined" people. But how did they get that way? All they did was start and continue a habit, that more importantly, turned into an identity. Being fit and doing what is hard just became who they are. You can also become a very undisciplined person. How? In the same way, you just developed the habit and then the identity!
So back to your child. How do you develop discipline and a hard work ethic/habit in your child?
First, start EARLY! Like anything else the sooner, you develop a habit the better. It is much easier to start with a good habit then change a bad one later. Remember, a person develops most of the habits they will have for the rest of their lives between the ages of 0 and 7!
Second, start with the SMALL STUFF! You start this habit by making your child “do things they do not want to do” BUT start small! Small things done consistently over time is the secret to success at anything! So instead of making them bungie jump or clean the whole house, make them eat foods they do not like. Make them get up as soon are their alarm clock goes off. Make them go to bed at an exact time. Make them stop playing a video game or get them to do a simple task the first time they are asked.
Third, be both consistent and patient! Why do most parent let their kids slide out of doing something they do not want to do? Because it is easier. It is easier than laying down the law and holding fast. But this extra work put in at the start pays off when they are teens and adults.
But what does this all mean in the future? A teens who grows up and finishes college with a degree in four years instead of one that changes majors a dozen times then drops out with thousands in student loans. A child that develops into an employee any boss would love. (They are the ones who always have great jobs and later turn into the boss!). A child who goes on to be an amazing spouse and parent because instead of giving up on the slightest difficulty or discomfort they work hard and persevere.
People who are disciplined and always work hard make life seem so easy!
“Prepare the child for the road, not the road for the child!”