Foster Leadership Skills in Your Tween

Encourage your tween to embrace leadership, here's how

 Some children are natural born leaders, eager to take charge and lead the way for their peers. Others need a bit of encouragement in taking on responsibility and challenges. Either way, it's important for parents to encourage leadership in their children, so that they have the skills they'll need to make it through middle school, high school and beyond. Below are a few fun ways to develop or improve your tween's leadership abilities.

 

Lead On -- Leadership Skills for Tweens

Take on a Project: One way to foster leadership skills is to jump right into a project. Have your tween identify a project that needs to be done around the home or even at school. Put him in charge of preparing a plan, step by step, to deal with the problem. Ask him to delegate responsibility to you and other family members, thinking about the best possible roles for everyone involved. At the end of the project, ask him what went wrong, what worked, and what he would do differently next time. 

Run for School Office: If your child's school elects school officers, there's no better way for your tween to learn about leadership than to jump right in and become one. Running a campaign, making promises and then living up to them will teach your child about expectations, what's realistic and that it can be difficult to please everyone all the time. Running for office can also teach your child about working hard for something he wants, and on dealing with success or rejection in a mature way.

Consider Sports and Service Clubs: If your tween really wants to become a leader you might consider allowing your child to play a team sport or join a service club organization, such as the Girl Scouts, the Boy Scouts, or another service association. Both groups are very good at helping children overcome challenges and take on leadership roles.

If your tween is accomplished at a sport or has a particular talent, he can develop his leadership abilities by offering to tutor or teach it to a younger sibling, or a neighborhood child. 

Research Role Models: Have your tween make a list of role models from your community, school, or even in the public eye. Ask him what he thinks are their best qualities and why they are successful in their leadership role. Ask him if he has any of those qualities, or how he thinks he might be able to develop them over time. 

Learn How to Communicate: Communication is key to leadership and if your child wants to be a strong leader she'll have to understand the importance of developing communication skills. A good leader knows how to communicate to inspire, maintain calm, motivate, and offer constructive criticism -- not always easy to do. Help your tween work on her skills at home, so that she's prepared when she takes on a leadership role. Ask your child to think of examples of how others communicated with her in both positive and negative ways and how she would do things differently.

 

Set Personal Goals: Any leader will tell you that setting goals is an important part of developing skills and hitting milestones. Ask your tween to develop a plan for her progress and then take the necessary steps to achieve her goals. You may have to help your child set realistic goals, or provide suggestions on how she might make her dreams come true. 

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