While speaking at a ‘Parent Seminar’ the topic of leadership and well-behaved children was introduced. I was somewhat amazed when parents seemed to think leadership principles change from one leadership environment to another. I have said many times, leadership is not discipline, punishment, rewards or consequences.   Leadership is a gary's blog picture‘process’ by which parents ‘lead’ a child who thinks he/she rules the known universe into  becoming a disciple—–who will look up to them, subscribe to their values, and follow their lead.

When a parent tells me their ‘child’ will not take ‘no’ for an answer, I know  the problem is not with the child. I know I am talking to parents who are impaired in their leadership. When this occurs I ask the question “when you say “no’  do you absolutely mean no. I follow this question up with a second question;  “how would  your parents answer the first question.” Invariably, there is  great disparity between current day parents and previous generations. This fact alone is quite revealing.

We must keep in mind the axiom “a behavior positively reinforced will repeat itself.” A child who discovers that tantrums pay off 20 percent of the time will continue to throw tantrums.

Today’s parents do not like to upset their children. Parents of 50 plus years ago did not care if their children became upset. Today’s parents want their children to ‘like’ them. Parents of “old” did not care whether their children liked them or not. They were in the process of  “bringing up a child in the way they should go……..”  Teaching right and a wrong were paramount and popularity took the back seat.   Strong statements but nevertheless true.

If you know how to lead in the cooperate world, on the job, or other similar circumstances you know how to lead a child. Good leaders are not about the process of manipulating consequences. They are good communicators. They communicate in such a way the people they lead believe in them and what they are trying to accomplish. They are part of their child’s life and the child knows they are loved.


Retired in 2008 after 40+ years in education/psychology as researcher, teacher, administrator and college professor.
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