Do You Parent Like a Boss?
Do you parent like a boss? Family structures are evolving in similar ways to the modern workplace: Children respond better when they feel included and involved and they will keep you included and involved in their life as well.
Recent research has shown a rise in the percentage of entrepreneurship worldwide; a trend that is expected to continue in the future. Why? Results have shown that people are looking for:
- more satisfaction and flexibility in their work,
- a purpose and a meaning in what they do
- happiness where they spend most of their waking hours
The old hierarchical structure does not work any longer because it’s based on one-way orders. It does not have any participative structures that would ensure a collaborative environment between management and subordinates. Younger employees are more tech-savvy, creative, and self-motivated. Managers who don’t listen, understand, engage, support and delegate lose their authority. Punishment isn’t effective any longer in instilling discipline and loyalty.
So how is this related to families?
The same holds true for families. Family members resist carrying out obligations just because someone says so. Children act out because they feel they’re being ordered around. How do you, as a parent, feel when they are not following your orders? What is happening to your relationship? When the don’t listen, do you step it up and threaten to deprive them of something, actually follow through with consequences, or give up and submit when they nag or cry?
Don’t worry, you are not alone. Most parents raise their children the way they were raised; either strictly issuing orders, or submissively giving into their children’s demands, or switching between both.
Nowadays, having a child does not qualify a parent to automatically know what to do under different situations, and how to handle unacceptable behavior. Modern parents need to evolve their family structure and learn the skills required to form and maintain a collaborative relationship with their children. “Parents are blamed but never trained” says Dr. Thomas Gordon. However, acquiring the skills needed for such a collaborative relationship helps parents raise their children in effective ways that ensure their long term success and build their resilience for life.
A relationship requires unconditional love and collaboration from everyone involved. Orders and consequences get a different message across; a message that you are superior and the other is inferior and that you have a choice to withhold your love as you wish. It makes children feel that you are the judge, and it’s your call to announce the verdict; guilty or not, and what will follow. Submissiveness also sends a message that you don’t care enough.
Your children (and perhaps your partner too) need to learn the reasons behind expected behavior and daily habits–even seemingly simple tasks such as brushing their teeth; tidying their toys and clothes; doing their homework etc. This will help them understand their role at home and develop their ability to share responsibility even outside their community.
Despite this, many parents tell me how sometimes their children continue to resist even after they’ve taken the time to explain. Why? Because children have another point of view that they want to tell you and expect you to listen to, the same way you want them to listen to you. This is when you need to use what Dr. Thomas Gordon calls “shifting gears” and listen with genuine interest to what they have to say. It is a good sign that they are responding to you and what you said and want to talk to you about it. You may even get surprised as you listen to their brilliant and creative ways to get you the same results.
Think of your children as entrepreneurs, give them the space they need to find their voice and be heard; to participate as any other family member. When you are willing to let them feel included and involved, they will keep you included and involved in their life.
Wouldn’t this make you happy too!