Getting to the Olympics is an incredibly impressive achievement, regardless of whether or not an athlete winds up taking home the gold. It takes years of hard work — not only for those competing to win medals, but for their parents as well. Anyone watching Chloe Kim's father call her his "American dream" at this year's Winter Olympics as she took home the gold for the women's halfpipe can see how much that win meant to him as well.
Not every kid is going to make it to the Olympics, and not every kid wants to. However, regardless of a child's innate athletic ability, parents can learn a few things from Olympic parents about raising successful children.
1. Teach Them to Be Consistent
Some very lucky people are able to bounce from one activity to the next and be moderately successful at everything they do. However, to truly accomplish something and become an expert, children need to be taught to be consistent. Part of being consistent is practice, and anyone who has fond memories of being forced to take piano lessons as a child will tell you that getting a kid to practice should be considered an Olympic event in and of itself. Whether it's sports, art, school, or music, help children recognize that to truly be great at something, they need to practice, practice, practice.
2. Be Respectful of Your Child's Dream
It's hard enough to be successful in the world without a child having to constantly fight and explain why something is important to them. A child will try a lot harder knowing that their parents at least understand what they are trying to accomplish. Dismissing dreams as silly or unattainable can ruin self-esteem and drive, so no matter how far-fetched your child's goals may seem, get behind them 100 percent.
3. Both of You Need to Be Resilient
In the process of trying to accomplish big goals, there will be challenges, and it's important to learn how to get back up. How people handle failures is almost as important as how they handle their successes. Teaching a kid to be resilient will help them reach for their dream's gold medal because they'll know how to bounce back from failure.
4. Be Willing to Put in Time
It should come as a shock to no one that training to be an Olympic athlete requires an obscene amount of time, and that includes from the parents. This is easily the biggest sacrifice parents of successful children have to make. Whether it's driving them to and from practice or researching strategies to improve technique, success is largely about time spent.
5. Be Their Biggest Fan
Cheer them on when they succeed, encourage growth, and help them when they falter. No matter what, the easiest way to ensure that a child is successful and happy is if they know they have you in their corner, rooting them on.