The Best Way to Lead your Child is to Lead Yourself!

by Ron Jenson

Why can’t I get my child to obey me? Why is my child taking the wrong path? Why do I have trouble connecting with my child?

Do you ever ask yourself these things? Well, if you are normal you must! I certainly do!

And, having just walked my daughter Molly down the aisle to join her new life with Max, I have been reflecting on my parenting over the years. Was I a good father – did I provide leadership, guidance, love, support, encouragement, provision….?

I think I did some things really well (love, encouragement, support) and others I blew (too passive at times, not intentional enough, etc.). But, all in all Mary and I have two great, healthy, productive, talented children (Mary is the parent who gets most of the credit).

What I do know for sure is that any success we have had with our kids is directly related to our own personal leadership. You see you can’t lead others if you can’t lead yourself. Good leadership is based on self-leadership.

So how about you – how is your personal leadership? Where are you winning and failing here?

My suggestions are…

  1. Be intentional on your personal growth. You can’t be passive here. You’re either moving forwards or backwards.
  2. Develop positive habits. As the Greek Fathers said, “first we make our habits and then they make us.” That is so true. Feed good habits and starve bad habits.
  3. Take responsibility for your life. Don’t blame other people or circumstances for your challenges. And, don’t be a victim!
  4. Don’t fake it! Be real and transparent even with you children. And, admit when you are wrong (yes…admit it). In fact, get radical and ask for areas of weakness to be pointed out by your children and spouse. Hey, I did this with my children starting with when they were young and you know what – they told me where I needed to be a better person.
  5. Lead from the inside out. Your strength is in the character that is being formed within you. Focus on the roots of character and behavior and be amazed at the fruit in your own life personally and professionally and in life of your family.
  6. Embrace core, universal principles (kindness, hard work, integrity, compassion) that you can model and then communicate these to you children whenever you have an opportunity.

Well, those are my thoughts. What are yours?

Previous post:

Next post: