Our children naturally look to us for leadership. As a proponent for positive parenting, I have been asked how we can hold authority without ruling with an iron fist. How can we be the gentle, positive, effective leaders our children need?
Here are 10 Tips:
1. Set clear boundaries. Helping children to understand and stay within the boundaries we set makes them feel safe and secure - like the yellow lines on the road. Without those yellow lines, driving would be scary. Without boundaries, life is scary. Boundaries are necessary; it's the way we enforce those boundaries that determine whether we are being positive leaders. Make sure the boundaries are fair and age-appropriate, and hold them lovingly, providing empathy and understanding when children get upset about the rules. Be consistent and kind.
2. Be intentional. Effective leaders know what they want to accomplish, and they keep their eyes on the goal. Make a detailed plan of action, and renew your mind to your goal constantly.
3. Learn how to communicate well. Using positive communication skills elicits cooperation while negative communication invites rebellion. Learn positive communication and teach it to everyone in the home.
4. Be empowering. Remember the goal is ultimately to raise competent, confident human beings, and that is done in millions of small, empowering moments over childhood. From trusting them enough to take off the training wheels to handing them the keys to get behind the wheel, positive leaders help their children to feel capable.
5. Be inspiring. Leaders foster a positive environment which allows their children to flourish. They look for the light in each of their children and reflect that light back to them so that they see it, too. Positive leaders know how to bring out the best in everyone.
6. Have integrity. Positive leaders practice what they preach. Rulers tell others what to do. Leaders show others what to do by example. True authority is not gained through an iron fist but through excellent character.
7. Show support. Good leaders are supportive and encouraging. They understand that people make mistakes, and these are opportunities to learn.