5 Tools for Being a Successful Parent Leader
by: Lori Radun

What is leadership and why should parents care? Leadership is the ability to inspire yourself and others to take positive action in life. Every individual and organization needs leadership. What is an organization exactly? An organization is a social arrangement that pursues collective goals, controls its own performance and has a boundary separating it from its environment. Your family is one of the most important organizations in the world and your family needs leadership.

To take a leadership role in your family, there are several components that will make you more effective and successful as a parent leader:

First off, you can’t be an effective and successful leader to your children if you aren’t a leader of your own life. You need to decide who you want to be as a mom. Our kids watch our behavior to learn how to behave in the world. We need to make sure that we are the positive examples we want our children to model after. One of the ways we become better leaders of our own lives is to practice self-awareness and self- growth. Without self-awareness it is very hard to create a vision for the future for you and your family. Self-growth lets us bridge the gaps of where we are today and where we want to be.

Using positive communication in your family is the second tool that you need to do to be a successful parent leader. When you use positive communication with your children, you tend to get better results. Yelling creates a negative reaction with your children and causes us to become out of control. Once we as the parent are out of control, the child becomes out of control. A real leader has the ability to communicate to anybody to take positive action. An effective leader has the tools to respond instead of reacting to a situation. When you respond instead of react, you pause and think about what you are going to say or do. This is much more effective than just impulsively reacting. Think about what you are going to ask of your child and give them choices. This puts the responsibility and the consequences into their hands.

The third tool an effective parent leader uses is to view problems as opportunities. I don’t know a family on this Earth that does not experience “problems”, and many of them. One way to view problems as opportunities is to view change as a natural part of life. Your perspective and attitude regarding change will largely determine how well you deal with it. In addition, we want to develop our problem solving skills. The more problems we solve, the more confidence we have in our ability to solve problems, and the better we become at quickly generating solutions to challenges that come up in life. Instead of going into stress mode when problems arise, jump into problem solving mode.

A great parent leader practices emotional intelligence – the fourth tool in her toolbox. Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, assess, manage, and control the emotions of one’s self, of others, and of groups. To practice emotional intelligence, one must recognize and develop the five competencies of emotional intelligence – self-awareness, intelligently managing our emotions, motivation, empathy, and social skills. At the same time, as parents, we must provide opportunities for our children to learn these same skills. Emotional intelligence is one of the greatest predictors of success in people today, over intelligence and education.

Maintaining balance, the fifth tool, within your family is important. You can become stressed if your family doesn’t have balance and you may not cope with things well. Try to avoid over committing your life. Make sure you take time to just be a family and develop those relationships, and try to align your life with your vision and family values.

One of the greatest things you can do is raise your kids to do great things and inspire others. John Quincy Adams said “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” How does your leadership as a parent let your children do these things? Help your children to be the best that they can be and in the process you may just become the best parent you can be.

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