Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash
Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

Preparing Children for Success


It seems like every week we hear of some new “can’t fail” program to help our kids become smarter and better prepared to be successful.  In addition to laying a strong spiritual foundation, what are some other ways we can help set our kids up for success?


Every parent wants their children to be smart and successful and many of us have spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on books and programs designed to increase their intellectual knowledge in things such as music, math, science, vocabulary, spelling etc.

However, based on an abundance of research over the past 15 years we now know that the skills of emotional (EQ) and relational (RQ) intelligence have a significantly greater impact on a person’s success in their professional and personal lives than IQ.  Yes, IQ is important, but in the long-run it’s not as impactful as ERI.

I describe ERI as, “The ability to be aware of, identify and understand our own emotions and those of others, and to constructively manage and utilize those emotions in ourselves and in our relationships.”

Research also tells us that a major factor in preparing our kids for life involve the kinds of conversations we have with them.  We also know it’s not just how we talk to our children; it’s how we talk with them and what we talk about.

Conversations that include emotions effectively foster language development, increased vocabulary, greater personal and interpersonal awareness, success in school and in life.

One of the best ways to give our kids a head-start in developing their ERI is to talk with them about emotions—both ours and theirs—and about their relationships with us, their siblings, friends, and with God.

Talk about worry, fear, anger, and forgiveness. Talk about God’s love for them, what that means, and what it looks like in real life.

Don’t just talk to them, but talk with them.  Don’t just pray for them, but pray with them.  Let them hear your conversations with God and encourage them to join you.

Gary J. Oliver, ThM, PhD
Executive Director at Center for Healthy Relationships | + posts

Dr. Oliver is the Executive Director of The Center for Healthy Relationships, and professor of Psychology and Practical Theology at John Brown University.  He has authored over 20 books and more than 350 professional and popular articles.  Dr. Oliver has over 40 years’ experience as a Clinical Psychologist, Marriage  & Family Therapist and Spiritual Director.  He leads seminars & workshops both nationally and internationally on a variety of counseling-related issues, healthy relationships as well as Emotional & Relational Intelligence (ERI).

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