Good Parenting Involves Great Leadership – Part 1

Sam Obitz / January 17th, 2013 / No Comments »

Several of my clients have asked me to write a few blog entries focused on parenting. First, I do not claim to be the best parent around. I make mistakes all the time, but I am consistently trying to learn and get better at it. That said, I do believe my parenting style has been greatly enhanced by my work and feel I have some general advice to share.

The essence of good parenting is no different than leading a team or business, but usually on a smaller scale. I often say that if you take care of all the little things, they will lead to the big things. The most successful coach during my lifetime also happened to be an outstanding parent. If he were alive today, I have no doubt that he would tell you that it was not a coincidence. I have seen many exceptional leaders who are not very good parents, but I have rarely seen a great parent who is not a good leader.

Being a good parent takes a good deal of time and an equal or greater measure of effort. If being a great parent was easy, there would be a lot more good parents around. It takes great patience and self-control to be an effective parent. Not coincidentally, those are two of the most important things a parent can instill in a child.

In my experience, the most exceptional leaders teach by example, and the average or poor ones talk about and share examples. You can tell children the importance of patience and self-control until you are blue in the face, but it won’t make any difference if you are exhibiting behavior contrary to your words.

How can you as a parent expect your children to control themselves if you are not controlling yourself or your emotions in front of them? Self control is a primary component of consistency, and consistency is a primary component of success. If you take this to heart and start aligning your actions with your words, you will become a better parent. Having children around, who will naturally hold you accountable; can make you a better person, as it has done for me.

Children are much smarter and more adaptable from the moment they are born than most adults realize. Like any leader, you set the tone for your family and develop its culture. One of the biggest mistakes I notice in families is parents who cater to all of their children’s whims.

Can you imagine players telling a coach they don’t like conditioning and prefer playing video games at practice and the coach yielding? Or employees telling their boss they only want to show up for work on Tuesdays (for the same compensation) and the boss yielding? Of course not, but this is exactly how some parents let their children’s whims rule their household.

It is through the denying of children’s requests that you teach them patience and self-control. Human beings are the only creatures on earth that devote themselves to making their off-spring happy. All others teach them how to adapt and thrive in the world. Many well intentioned parents become enslaved by children’s mealtime demands in an effort to spare them from memories of misery from their own childhood. This is a disservice to the child, as these parents fail to realize that they gain valuable coping skills through the misery they experience.

Children need to fail and face adversity in order to grow and feel secure. They also need to be allowed to become bored at times. They need to build up their boredom tolerance muscle which paves the way for them to develop their willpower muscle. Like all things in life, children need balance and when parents cater to them and their whims, they do not get it, and it makes them feel less than whole beings.

Most growth comes through overcoming obstacles. So make sure and let your child face obstacles and learn to overcome them in their daily lives, if you want them to develop into happy, thriving and secure adults.

Remember, the worst thing you can do for someone you love, is something they can do for themselves!


You can follow Sam on Twitter @SuperTaoInc


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