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Identify Goals

Does your child show promise in a particular field? Identify his strengths, discuss his goals, and focus on them.

Your child does not have to be great in academics in order to be a success. So if you find yourself constantly at war with your child, trying to push him to study harder, get higher marks on tests, and concentrate on his studies more, read on.

Students that are academically very bright have a number of options open to them. But these options do keep narrowing down as they grow older, discover their interests, and opt for particular streams of study. And, a few years down the line, they need to select one option from the thousands available out there, and then stick with it with dedication and focus to succeed.

Thus, if your child is not very strong academically, pushing him to study harder will certainly broaden his options - but it will not ensure success in his career. So, it makes sense to first take the more practical approach and work with your child on deciding on a career at the outset. Perhaps he wants to win the Wimbledon some day. What are you going to do? Are you going to talk him out of it, telling him how hard it is and how much competition there will be? Are you going to tell him its never going to happen? Or are you going to arrange for extra coaching for him, buy him a new tennis racket and shoes, and attend as many coaching sessions as you can, encourage him at every step and monitor his progress with his coach? Remember, many young people make their living playing professional sports, and if you encourage your naturally talented child at a young, early age, he will have an advantage over the thousands others who enter the field later on.

Many people spend years trying to figure out what they want to do. Often, this is because they haven't consciously set a goal for themselves and pursued it. What they do instead is make various choices, and see where they land up. So, your child does well in the 10th, and opts for Science. Then, he tries for medicine, takes the IIT JEE entrance exam, doesn't get admission, so opts instead for architecture. Then, he scores excellently in his interior decoration paper, gets a good job with a decorating firm, and takes it up. He may love his job, or, he may get stifled a few years later, wondering what he's doing designing kitchen when he would rather be flying a plane instead.

If your child identifies his goal at an early age, and shows some genuine talent, do encourage him. Many parents across the globe are so dedicated to their child's sports careers, that they spend hours and hours with their child during their practices, organize special training for their child, and do all they can as a parent to make sure their child has ready access to all he needs, to be the best. Academics is not always given top priority, and parents around the globe recognize the fact that their child doesn't need to stand first in class to be a success. In India, on the other hand, most people succeed in alternative careers despite their parents, who always wanted them to stop pursuing what they had an obvious talent for, and start studying!

Sports is thus not yet taken so seriously in India, which is why when a young Indian girl plays on Wimbledon center court, it makes headlines here. However, one feels that she may not stand much of a chance in the future, when you think about the fact that those who win the Wimbledon are people who started coaching often before they reached the age of 5, and who have been coaching seriously for almost their entire lives, with the goal of winning Wimbledon someday.

So if your child is not doing that well academically, sit with him and discuss his future goals. What does he want to do? Does he want to become an artist? A tennis player? A golfer? Tiger Woods started coaching for golf at the age of 3! If your child says he wants to become a professional football player, and shows some real talent, don't just snuff out his dreams. Give him access to coaching, and strike a deal with him that he should fare modestly well on his tests - and you will give him all the back-up support he needs. And then one day when your child signs a 100 million dollar contract to play for the Manchester United football team, you will be glad you did.

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