How Do We Raise Successful Humans?

What is your measure of success?

My hope is that my children will grow into confident adults with a sense of well being. I imagine them in a career that feels fulfilling.  I imagine a life with healthy relationships. Health, happiness, independence, financial freedom… all these things are part of success.

But how do we as parents help our children get there?

Just yesterday, I attended an all day conference with guest speaker Dr Vanessa LaPointe, a psychologist from Vancouver, B.C. She spent 6 hours answering this very question and I must say that she had the ability to keep my interest for an entire day! Here’s her book:


I will try to give a quick summary of her ideas here.

Basically the ability to achieve success comes from our ability to adapt. And our ability to adapt is based on brain function.

So how to you help your child grow a healthy brain?


Love. And Play.

Of course there is more to it than just that but in a way it really is just that simple. 

As parents, we need to focus more on the relationship than on getting them to behave.  If we see behaviour we don’t like, it is best to think of that child as struggling and consider how best to support the child through that struggle.

Significant adults in children’s lives need to be in charge, they need to be loving, they need to be present.  Firmness and kindness is needed at just the right balance.  We need to give children time to play. And that play needs to come from within the child and be focused on the journey rather than the end result.

Want to read more? Get the book!  I have not read it yet but by listening to the author speak, I know it is worth the money you will spend.

Do you have a highly sensitive child? There’s a section in the book devoted to sensitive children too.

So what does it mean to be successful?

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends. To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Finally, I’d be interested to know… how do you define success?


11 thoughts on “How Do We Raise Successful Humans?

  1. It’s an interesting concept. Perhaps children can learn to play in different ways. Perhaps learning in itself can be its own form of play. What are we to think of the children living in single parent households or only child households where they get fewer hours of attention? Is the correlation that this child loses his ability to adapt and therefore has a lower success rate in life? Just a few thoughts from me… I was curious about some of what you wrote. I imagine it’s deeper in the book…

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  2. Thanks for sharing your response to the author and her book, Cindy. The last thing we as parents want to do is mess up our kids. My kids are both now adults and wonderful humans – caring, compassionate, responsible, financially independent, and wonderful with their own and others children. Seeing them parent their own children (or be a fabulous aunt to niece and nephew) is very rewarding.

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    1. Thanks for reading, Norah. I think it is difficult at times when you’re in the moment with young children to trust that everything will work out okay. And I will say that as my children get older I really see that the love we have for them is enough and that feeling of being with them as ‘very near to being adults’ and witnessing the way the are ‘turning out’ is extremely satisfying 🙂 Thanks for your comments!

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    1. Yay! Isn’t it wonderful. The research into brain development is so fascinating and helpful. There is so much we know now that we didn’t know 25 years ago. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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