5 Steps to Powerful Parenting
There’s a commonality in thought that goes something like “I want my kids to have a better life than I did.” Initially, this made sense to me until I became a parent. It was then I realized that yes, I would love for my kids to have a “better life” than I did growing up, but at the same time I don’t want to make my life easy enough to out-do. Meaning, I want to live life as an adult far beyond that of what my own son could even conceive of duplicating.
This thought does not come from a place of jealousy or insecurity, it comes from a place of power. I want to be a powerful example to my son and future children, as well as grandchildren, of what is possible for a person who is willing and focused enough to build a spectacular life. Anyone can be a parent, even be a descent one, but few will ever be Powerful Parents.
To be a Powerful Parent is to be the example. To be the model for all other parents including your own. It’s to be effective and efficient. To be fun and loving. To be enthusiastic and tenacious. Powerful Parents are the type of parents that make other kids want to be just like you when they grow up. Before we move forward, understand that both parents can be extremely powerful with or without a job. You can be the bread-winner or you can be the stay at home parent. You can both have jobs or run a business together. The combinations and possibilities are endless as long as you continue to think creatively and critically on a consistent basis. Now, let’s move into the 5 Steps to Powerful Parenting.
Step 1 Be A Student
Before you can ever wish to become a professor at a prestigious University with a PhD, Masters, and with your own published works, you must first complete all of your studies. No one was ever born the teacher, for no one knows the information before hand. You must learn before you share such information with others. If this is true, then why is it that so many new parents refuse to take parenting advice from those more experienced in the field, especially when that advisor is their parents? Why are we so reluctant to listen? The answer to that doesn’t matter, what matters is the truth. If you are not modeling after successful parents or duplicating the actions of effective grandparents, then you are a terrible study and will ultimately become a mediocre parent at best. Just because you are great at creating children does not mean you are qualified to raise them.
I say these things because I am the biggest student when it comes to parenting. Not only do I study other parents on what works, I also look for what doesn’t work. I read books on how to deal with people because children are not alien life forms. They are people and they react like people. Furthermore, I look to learn from my son. He has taught me so much. I don’t only learn about him but I continue to learn from him. He’s even given me advice on how to be a better partner to his mother. Go figure!
When you appreciatively accept the role of a student you open yourself up to new levels of interaction as well as open your children up to higher levels of communication and respect. A child who sees a parent who is always willing to learn understands how much you care about them and are more willing to be open and honest with you. The student is a humble position that creates likability.
Step 2 Guide Them
Most parents are too busy trying to tell people what to do instead of trying to coax them. Persuade or influence. To lightly push others in a certain direction. This is what a Powerful Parent does with their kids, gives a guiding hand towards success.
Yes, you are the “Boss” and yes you are in charge, doesn’t mean you always have to act like it. Who likes it when their Boss tells them what to do? How about when they yell at you? Or how about scold you? Have they ever embarrassed you in front of your co-workers? I’m not saying I’ve never raised my voice at my son, but it has never been my go-to. It’s not so much that I don’t believe in being stern, I just know that it’s not always the most effective method for 2 reasons. A) It desensitized them to your voice for they won’t know when you are really serious or just letting your aggravation get the best of you again, and B) it makes them resent you. You want respect, not hate and fear.
When I say guide, I’m also talking about the growing pains of life. We are each on a path, and though we will have gone through a lot of similar situations, we will never go through the exact same journey as our children. We must let them live, learn and grow with us as their assistant, not tyrant. If they are not in danger let them experiment. When they are studying something you’ve never understood, let them dig into it. They will probably teach you about it. When they are expressing themselves, it is good to let them indulge in that sometimes. It’s how they find themselves and it’s how you find out who they are. Obviously, not all expression is appropriate or even bearable, but expression is important for optimal growth for you and for your children.
Step 3 Leadership
I’ve always felt that the best leaders are those who lead by example. In other words, do as you say THEY should do. Doesn’t that make the most sense? When you are a parent, you are more than just a guiding hand, you are the light which they should follow. Kids will most likely follow a similar, if not the same path as their parents. It’s just what we do, so don’t you want that path to be something awesome?
What kind of job do you have? Are you living your dreams or at least trying to build them? How much money do you make? Are you financially independent? How’s your relationship with your significant other? What kind of friends do you have? What are your hobbies? Are you healthy? Do you exercise? Are you a happy person? How reliable would people say you are? Are you organized? Are you someone to look up to? Are you growing or just trying to get by? Would you be content if your kids became just like you?
Though we typically want our kids to be better and do better than us, how much further would they have to go in order to make that happen? How high are we setting the bar? Are you leading by example or by status?
Step 4 Become Their Friend
You are the sum total of the 5 people who you hang around with the most. Wouldn’t that be incredible if you were one of your kids best friends? Of course they will have their own friends to hang out with, but when you become one of their good friends you are unconsciously setting the precedent for the type of friends they will choose in the future. Not because you told them who to hang out with, but because they will have already created a blueprint for what a good friend looks like. YOU!
This is one of those lead by example moments. Love by example. Listen by example. Encourage by example. Spend time and have fun. Show appreciation and reward. Be honest and sincere. Be fair and disciplined. Be open and understanding. That’s the type of friend you would want right? And that is definitely the type of friends I want my son to have, so if I’m that type of friend to him I could automatically become the default he refers to when choosing his own friends. This doesn’t take away from your parenting duties as a disciplinary because even kids want to be guided on what’s right and what’s wrong. You are just increasing your kids chances of choosing the right kind of friends when you become their first friend in life. From there, you become the standard.
Step 5 Teach Gracefully
There is very little to teach and way more to learn. Example, a Professor may know a wide range on the topic of Business, but they typically teach in only 1 area. They may guide you in other sectors of the same discipline known as business, but ultimately they will teach in their one specialty area of business. This is how you should be as a parent. Undoubtedly teach what it is you most definitely know, learn about that which you’re sure you don’t know, and guide in the other areas that you know to some extent.
Why do I say teach gracefully? Because no matter what role you may be in, you will always be known as the Master Teacher to your kids. At least in the beginning. The goal is to hold on to that title as they get older. This is where building your dream life comes into play. If you are living a sub-par life, meaning you are not engaged in a worthwhile experience that you find purposeful, then you will become the perfect example of who not to follow if they would so choose to decide to live their ultimate life.
To teach with grace is to be many steps ahead of your students. And why wouldn’t you? You only have a couple of decades heads start on them. To teach with grace is to be cognizant and humble enough to continue to actively learn from others as well as from your students (your kids). To teach with grace is to be the example of what living in fulfillment looks like.
Live the life your kids would dream of building.
Mel Jones #coachMP