Is there a secret formula to raising successful children? That’s what many mothers and fathers have asked themselves for years. After all, every parent wants their children to achieve their highest potential and to do their best, both academically and in some cases, in the sports world, as well. But when it comes to encouraging, motivating and inspiring children to do their best, this mother seems to have the answers. That’s because she has successfully raised two daughters to become the most influential CEOs in the business world.
In a new essay for Time.com, Esther Wojcicki explains how she successfully raised her three daughters – Janet Wojcicki, who is a professor at UCSF, Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube and Anne Wojcicki, the co-founder and CEO of 23 and Me. Wojciciki says that her formula was pretty simple from the start. Instead of reading all of the parenting books, taking advice from others or simply going through the motions of parenthood, she decided to make her own rules. And by doing so, she had to trust herself.
Wojcicki says that from the first moment she became a mother, her primal desire was to not only protect her daughter and give her the best life possible but also do whatever it took to help her succeed. That’s why she threw caution to the wind and did things her way, regardless of what those around her had to say about it.
Wojcicki writes, “I spoke to my daughters as if they were adults from day one. Most mothers naturally turn to baby talk — a higher-pitched voice, simpler words. Not me. I trusted them and they trusted me. I never put them in danger but I also never stood in the way of them experiencing life or taking calculated risks.”
Wojcicki also says that while no one has a definite answer on how you should raise your children, she emphasizes the importance of knowing how to give kids the values and skills to succeed as adults. She says that a lot of parenting advice that people usually give is narrow and prescriptive and doesn't help you learn or think outside of the box. The mother-of-three says that the first thing she did as a mom was to treat her three daughters as individuals that always had her respect.
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She added, “I respected their individuality from the beginning. My theory was that the most important years were zero to five and I was going to teach them as much as I could early on. What I wanted more than anything was to make them first into independent children and then into empowered, independent adults. I figured that if they could think on their own and make sound decisions, they could face any challenges that came their way.”
Wojcicki says that the key elements to successful parenting include trust, respect, independence, collaboration and kindness. Without those, kids might find it difficult to navigate rough waters, especially as they grow older. She adds, “You are the parent your child needs, and with your trust and respect, your child will become exactly the person they are meant to be.”