(Note: In my first article on parental authority, I wrote about establishing family values.)
The second necessary component for parental success is influence.
Our job is to become as influential as possible in the minds and lives of our children. Here are three ways parents can become more influential:
Become great listeners and create a safe space for children.
Demonstrate love, not a desire for control.
Personalize relationships and approaches with each child.
As parents, we must be able to listen to our students, especially those who are doing things that are not super comfortable for us. Children need for us to be listeners and they need us to be able to genuinely listen, not listen to be able to respond, but listen to be able to listen. Listen to just be there for them.
So often children who fall or fail felt that they couldn’t confide in adults at a time that they were vulnerable. They didn’t feel that their parents understood them. They didn’t feel that they really wanted to hear from them. They felt that the adults in their lives just wanted to tell them differently.
The second way to become more influential is to demonstrate love and not a desire for control. There was an Israeli educator who helped kids who were a bit wayward, who were having a hard time. He asked the boys, “What can a parent do to help his child fight the influences that you’re dealing with? What can I do to ensure that it won’t happen to own my kids?”
They replied, “Rabbi, don’t worry. It’s not going to happen to your kids.”
“How do you know?” he asked.
“You love your children very much and you show them how much you love them,” they replied. “To be in such a house is the greatest pleasure in the world, and they have no attraction, no desire to pursue any other path.”
Lesson: Tell your children all the time how much you love them. Early and often.
Finally, everybody wants to be treated as an individual. Oftentimes, however, we have this tendency to use one approach for all of them. But our approach needs to be personalized, based on the unique needs of each individual child.
Naphtali Hoff, PsyD, is a former school principal who supports leaders and their teams through productivity coaching. Take his free productivity self-assessment at www.ImpactfulCoaching.com/Productivity-Assessment.