Dr. Rich Patterson

Parenting on Purpose: Influence #1

In this series on influencing your kids rather than disciplining them, I have been discussing the benefits of seven approaches to influencing based on John Maxwell’s book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.  Today we are focusing on #1: They cared about me and showed it.

You’ve heard the saying, “You get more with honey than vinegar.”  Think of the times of influence in your life.  The times when you really sat down and made some changes.  More than likely it came from a moment when someone showed they cared.  As parents, we get so caught up in disciplining our kids that it becomes automatic.  Listen to ourselves, Don’t do that, I told you not to do that, I told you not to hang around with him, that you would get into trouble, now look, and on and on.  Our kids’ reaction becomes automatic as well, and pretty soon there is only a short-term behavior change or no behavior change at all.

By showing kids that we care by holding our temper when things are tense.  We are patient when we want to get angry.  You might say, Rich, you’ve got to be kidding, this is pie in the sky.  No, we can make changes in our patience by programming ourselves to take a more loving approach.  When we show someone that we care about them and then make a suggestion, they are more likely to hear us.  Have you ever had a performance evaluation at your work?  If I have no relationship with you at all, and after a short while, I approach you and make a suggestion about something you should improve, how does that go?  You would be put-off and you might say, who are you?  But, if I have a relationship with you which is based on patience, based on being slow to anger, based on showing that I love you first, and then make a suggestion you are more likely to make the change.  It’s human nature.

Take some time to examine your parenting style.  What is working?  What isn’t working?  How can you add Influence #1:  Show that you care?  How can you be more patient?  You might begin by trying this with something low stakes.  A simple situation where you would be in control anyway, but this time how that you care by asking some questions:  Are you OK?  Can we take a minute right now and talk?  I think you will be surprised at kids’ reaction and how beneficial it is towards building a relationship.

Parenting is about influence and influence is about relationships.

Yours for better parenting,

Rich