Home > Kids > Childhood Development > Building Self-Esteem > Defining the Successful Child

Defining the Successful Child

A successful child is one who uses her abilities to develop ever-increasing skills that help form the positive personal attributes that will lead her to a successful life. A child's individual abilities make her unique. She uses her skills to develop positive experiences. She has a strong sense of self and looks forward to accomplishing goals.

Successful children have parents who are always working on their parenting skills. Their parents use these skills to enhance and encourage their child's abilities. They create useful parenting tools to build the attributes their child needs to succeed.

Successful children become successful adults who have high levels of self-esteem and self-worth. They enjoy learning new things and being with those they love. They have good character, morals, and values. They are happy.

Success means having a favorable outcome or obtaining something that was desired or intended. As we all have individual desires or intentions, we all have different ideas of what a successful life includes. Generally, people define a successful life as being happy, healthy, and able to enjoy life to its fullest.

Your Child's Abilities

Your child's abilities are the things he is capable of doing, not what a book says he should be capable of doing or what you wish he were capable of doing. Do not push your child to do something that he is not capable of doing at all. For instance, a three-year-old child who enjoys scribbling in his coloring book should not be pushed to color within the lines. If you push for neatness, he may begin to ignore coloring altogether. Then he will never enjoy learning to color between the lines.


A child who once enjoyed an activity but all of a sudden no longer wants to participate in it may have had a negative experience that you are unaware of. Talk with your child by asking general questions; then follow up with teachers, coaches, and other parents.

Try this activity to help you focus on your child's abilities. Down the left-hand side of a piece of paper, make a list of your child's abilities, everything that your child does well. Be honest! You can even scale each ability from one to ten-one being "does okay" to ten being "does great." Down the right-hand side of the same piece of paper, make a list of all the activities he likes to do. Cross-check the list, matching up the activities he likes to do with the abilities it takes to do them. You'll find that your child has gravitated toward activities that match his abilities. He has set himself up for success.

As his parent, you can help him increase his chances of success simply by making those activities that match his abilities available to him. As your child experiences more through these activities, he will be fine-tuning his abilities. This will, in turn, lead to even more success.

Your Child's Ever-Increasing Skills

A child who has the ability to run quickly may go out for a sport such as soccer where that ability is useful. There, she will learn to dribble a ball with her feet. Through practice she will begin to be able to run quickly while dribbling the ball. As long as her experiences with soccer remain positive, she will continue to improve her soccer skills.

Forming Positive Personal Attributes

Personal attributes are those qualities that make your child who he is. Is he active? Is he organized? Does he like to learn? These qualities are very much like the ones you would list on your resume.

Although your child is predisposed to his attributes, they can be formed and reformed. A disorganized child can be taught skills that will help him become organized. A child who dislikes reading can be taught better reading skills and given material she finds interesting so that she will learn to like to read. A child who tends to run late can be taught better organizational skills that will help him be prompt.


From The Everything Parent's Guide to Raising a Successful Child Copyright © 2004, F+W Publications, Inc. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Publications Company. All rights reserved.

To order this book go to Amazon.

st. patrick’s day

Celebrate the
luck of the Irish
with recipes
and activities.



10 Best Creative Apps for Kids
Looking for apps that foster creativity? Check out these top-rated art and music apps for kids.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

A New Intergalactic Reading Adventure!
Get your reluctant reader hooked on an irresistible new story, Galactic Hot Dogs! Join the Book 1 reading marathon, and get behind-the-scenes tidbits on the official Galactic Hot Dogs blog. Also, print this cool Galactic Hot Dogs reading log to keep your bookworm excited about reading!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks