Parents have a lot to manage when it comes to their kids—feeding them, bathing them, keeping them safe, trying to get them to sleep. All the while, the kids are learning from their parents—not just regular facts but behaviors as well. Parents know that the way they act has a direct influence on their child’s behavior. If you’re smart about it, you can use this to the benefit of your children. Here are a few key personality traits to instill in your kids if you want them to grow up to be healthy adults.


Unfortunately, empathy for the people around them is not something that most young children have by default. It’s up to parents to explain to their children that other people’s feelings matter and that you can’t go through life only thinking of yourself. Children with a high amount of empathy often grow up to have higher emotional intelligence and can even be more successful, so it’s worth fostering this trait.


In the same vein as empathy, we also want our children to be generous. Their ability to look beyond their own needs is very important unless you want to raise an egocentric adult. There are lots of behaviors you, as a parent, can exhibit to foster generous behavior as well. If you show your children how important giving is to you, they will pick up on this essential characteristic.


There’s no way to avoid it—your child will run into difficulties that you can’t help them with sometimes. As a parent, this is hard to stomach, but if you want your child to be able to get through those hardships and come out better for them, you’ll need to take a step back every now and then. Resilience is a life-long skill that many people work on even as adults, but starting them off young will ease them into being resilient when the stakes are still low.


Fostering creativity doesn’t mean you need to force your child into some artistic pursuit that they have no interest in. Really, this is more about fostering creative thinking. Let them experiment with their environment, and listen to their outlandish stories and ideas. This will allow them to realize that thinking outside the box is a good thing. They can take that knowledge into whatever pursuit they wish, but you’ll be happy you let them be creative as a child.


Patience is a tough one, to be sure. Having a patient child is what all parents wish for. It’s an essential skill for many reasons, including that it teaches independence and perseverance. A patient child is only as patient as their parents present themselves. Letting your anger fly at every little thing is not going to tell your child that patience is a virtue.

These key personality traits to instill in your kids are just the beginning, but they’re a great starting point for any parent who wants to help their child have a brighter future.