Dr. Rich Patterson

Parenting on Purpose: Influence #1

In this series on influencing your kids rather than disciplining them, I have discussed the benefits of seven approaches to controlling 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 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.

We show 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 change our patience by programming ourselves to take a more loving approach.  When we show someone that we care about them and then suggest, 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 suggest something you should improve, how does that go?  You would question my trust level, and you might say, who are you?

But, if I have a relationship with you based on patience, being slow to anger, showing that I love you first, and then suggesting 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’ reactions and how beneficial it is towards building a relationship.

The next reading for this series appears here, Parenting on Purpose: Influence Your Kids – Dr. Rich Patterson (

Uplift Families has a post that is very informative for your reading here, Parents are the #1 influence in their children’s lives. (


Parenting is about influence, and influence is about relationships.

Yours for better parenting,