Leadership at home: this is about your children, not your politicians

There are tough times in our family due to tension between us, the parents, and our two teen aged kids. They are less and less obeying the house rules. How can we maintain their discipline?

We can miss very quickly the point once we concentrate on the issue of obedience and discipline. It is, many times, a remedy for a failure, to pinpoint and zoom onto the children’s side, and dealing with THEIR defiant behavior. Let us tern the question away from the issue of controlling the kids to the challenge of educating and guiding them.

For that purpose I recommend you to take a look at YOUR end, and re-asses the nature of your parental authoritative power.
Forget the …‘I’m your parent and therefore you do so and so because I say so’… stuff. It belongs to old days that are far gone. No parent should trust that method to work well and for a long time, as it used to be. It is your problem if you tend to stick to it. If so, parents, you better wake up. We are at the 21st century.

The term of LEADERSHIP is called for.
The essence of leadership, in short, is the ability to build trust that creates sustained loyalty for you. It is also the process of influencing others to adopt and follow your directions and ideas. You, the parents, can be so and do so through modeling and relationship building.

No, your home is not the political arena, but yes, parents should develop and maintain their leadership position if they want their children to follow their guidelines and their house rules. And please note: leading is not ruling! Parents who are their kids’ leaders tend to worry less regarding the intensity of obedience that they have established and more about the charismatic bonds that they should create. They do not base their expectation on their children’s fear from punishment but on their kids’ decision to maintain their loyalty to their parents.

Since leadership is built through modeling and relationship building, I’ll first explain the concept of modeling:
‘Leading by example’ or ‘walk your talk’ is modeling. And you can check yourselves and your parenting style: do you, the parents, involve your kids with family budget planning and spending? This is an opportunity to model financial awareness and responsibility. Do you expose them to the various ways you choose to refrain from substances while socializing? This models them a decision making process regarding values and cultural norms. Smart parents, therefore, choose to act wherever they are as if they are with their kids, who are constantly watching them. This awareness for your role as a model strengthens your ability, as parents, to use the powerful method of modeling. In short: show them the ‘how you do’ before you expect them to do.

Finally, a few words about Relationship building: an on-going process that requires RECOGNITION and REWARDING.
The ‘recognition’ term: suppose your kids want to go to a certain activity that does not seem appropriate to you. Recognition means, in such a case, that you acknowledge their needs before you band their wish. It also means that you appreciate their gains if they would be able to attend and you are aware of their feeling of loss if at the end they would have to give up.

‘Rewarding’ does not necessarily lead parents to their pockets… Rewarding may be a warm ward, a comforting gesture, a thank you note or just an eye to eye look that reviles your wish to pay attention. And by the way: when was the last time that you forward one of those goodies to your kids?

So now, dear parents, I can finally conclude my answer: re-structure parenting style by choosing the proper activities and behaviors that would bring your children to perceive you as their leading figures. Another way to phrase it: depend on their loyalty to your guidelines, not their obedience to you.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Joseph Abraham’s background is in both areas: psychology and management.

In psychology: Since 1978 has practiced in Israel as a personal and family counseling psychologist. From the 90' is involved in developing and practicing online marriage counseling processes

In management Since 1980 has practiced in Israel, Europe and USA as a business management consultant, change management consultant, and management consultant.