Effective Parenting Boils Down To Influence

As a parent you have two ways to get your kids to do what you want them to do:  Power and influence.  Power is the ability to force or coerce your kids to do your will.  Influence is the ability get your kids to willingly do your will.  The younger your kids, the more power you have.  But the older they get, the less ability you have to force them to do anything that they don't want to do, and the more you must rely on the influence that you have developed. 

How do you develop influence with your children so that they willingly do what you want them to do?  There are two ways.

Focus on the relationship.  There are two dynamics involved in parenting.  The relationship, and the things that you are trying to get your child to do -- be obedient, make good grades, love God, do their chores, stay off of drugs, be sexually pure, etc.  The key to building influence is to keep these in balance.  If you underemphasize the relationship and focus too much on your child's behavior, your child will resent you and not follow your lead.  Only when your child is convinced that you care more about them than how their behavior makes you look will they follow your lead.  Maintain a strong, intimate bond with your child.

Focus on integrity.  Integrity gives you moral authority, and moral authority builds influence.  When  you practice what you preach you earn the moral authority to preach those values to others.  Without integrity all your child sees is a hypocrite, and nobody respects a hypocrite.  Walk your talk.  And when you act in a way that contradicts your values and beliefs, then admit it and ask for forgiveness. 

Effective parenting boils down to influence.  Do you have it?


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