Plenty of parents, both expectant and veteran, would probably say they'll be happy as long as their children find happiness in life. But as most of my friends with kids have confessed, they genuinely hope they are raising strong, independent, and confident children. If you're anything like me, you don't want to rely on hope or a crystal ball to figure out what kind of person your child will become. Thankfully, there are early signs your kid will be a leader, so you won't have to just cross your fingers and wait to find out.
Now that I'm a mother, my own mom has imparted some words of wisdom. She often say, "if your child is ready to leave you, that's a good thing, because it means you've done your job by preparing them for the world." But the worrier in me feels like the world will never be a safe enough place for my precious child. Fortunately, my son reminds me every single day that it's the world which won't be ready for his indomitable spirit.
If this sounds anything like your child, then you might have a fearless fighter in your midst. So check out some of these early signs, as explained by the experts, that your child is destined to become a leader.
1. They Like To Dabble
Does your little one like to try out a variety of activities? Though it might be frustrating when your child is hopping from one thing to the next, it could be a good indicator of leadership. According to Business, "if your child's schedule looks like a hodgepodge mess with no real core, that’s a good thing." What exactly does your kid's sporadic style mean in terms of leadership? The site noted that this implies your future leader wants "to learn about diverse things and not just rely on their strengths." So let them dabble and try out as many hobbies as your parental patience can handle.
2. They Require Few Reminders
Even before your child reaches school-age, you can already get a sense of what kind of learner they will be. If you aren't constantly having to get on them start and finish daily tasks or chores, they'll probably have no trouble with accomplishing goals later in life. According to Duke University's Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP), "self-sufficiency and assuming responsibility shows leadership potential in a child." A child who enjoys completing things on their own is simply demonstrating the early signs of independence.
3. Their Empathy Skills Are On Point
It's often assumed that sensitive, introverted, or shy children lack the ability to become a leader. As it turns out, being empathetic and understand how to relate to others emotionally is a very positive trait. Dr. Gail Gross, a parenting and education expert, told The Huffington Post that an emotional I.Q. is a great asset for leadership. Children, just like adults, are full of feelings, so the ability to interpret them is a character strength for anyone.
4. They're Social Butterflies
In a study on early leadership signs, Dr. Susan E. Murphy and Dr. Stephanie K. Johnson noted that, "toddlers who used pro-social strategies to secure [relationships] were high in social competence." So what exactly is social competence and how does it relate to leadership? Murphy and Johnson explained that, "social competence is the ability to form and maintain positive relationships with others, which is an important skill for leaders." Encouraging friendly playtime with other children is always a good idea.
5. They're Mini-Grown-Ups
You know those kids who have no problem joining in a conversation with a group of grown-ups? In addition to being adorably sophisticated, their mature style has leadership written all over it. Dr. Caroline Hunt, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Sydney, told Kid's Spot that a child who, "is a natural leader will exhibit behavior normally associated with adults." Just remember that small children often imitate everything they hear.
6. They're Team Players
In television and film, the designated leader tends to be the main one talking and can even come across as brash. But Sally McCormack, a clinical psychologist, told Essential Kids that children who are, "inspiring leaders are good listeners, encourage and inspire others," which may not always fall in line with the stereotype of leaders being loud, bold, and taking charge. If history is any indication, the greatest leaders were ones who knew how to support and embolden others.
7. They Go For It
My parents always told me it was better to try and fail then never try at all. So it's not surprising that kids who go for it have the potential for becoming a leader. According to Inc., a top sign of leadership is if, "your child has a flair for taking risks, but you can also see elements of them learning to weigh the pros and cons." Essentially, that's how everyone learns. You take a risk and are better prepared for next time.
8. They Trust Their Instincts
I envy the way my son can make tough calls, like whether he should color with the blue crayon or the purple one. According to Duke TIP, the ability to make difficult decisions is a sign your child will be a leader. I'm sure plenty of leaders have only gotten where they are today because they trusted their instinct and followed through when a decision needed to be made.
9. They're Able To Adapt
Being able to adapt your strengths to a situation is a sign of leadership potential. Dr. Thomas Berndt, head of the department of psychological sciences at Purdue University, told Parenting, children who are leaders can, "change depending on their skills and the tasks the group confronts." So keep an eye out for if your kid suddenly starts seeming more and more like McGyver.