First of all, every parent is challenged by their kids. There’s no shame – just opportunity to gently notice what’s really going on.
Your willingness to step back and look objectively at a difficult parent moment is how you change what’s not working.
Mundane parent moment-
- It’s 6pm, and a mom and her four-year-old son are in the pool with a swim instructor.
- Mom and instructor are failing to get the four-year-old to take part in the lesson.
- Mom and instructor are following the four-year-old as he moves away from them.
- Instructor says, “if you do this one last thing, you can leave.”
- It doesn’t happen.
- Lesson over.
- Mom pays.
- Instructor leaves.
- The four-year-old now wants to play.
- Mom says it’s time to go.
- The four-year-old says no by whining and kicking the water.
The words spoken:
- “It’s time to go home.”
- “Do you want to go home.”
- “I have a surprise for you at home.”
- “If you get out of the pool, you can watch…”
Eventually, the mom lifts her son out of the pool and grabs a towel. The moment she lets go, her son runs toward the pool’s edge, and she runs after him.
This happens three times. Each time her son stops at the edge of the pool, he looks back to see if his mother is there.
What’s going on here?
Is what’s happening more about the son or the mom?
If your answer is – the mom – you’re right.
Parents are the architects of the parent-child relationship.
Here’s what I would ask this mom.
- Why do you negotiate with your son?
- How were you parented?
- What feelings does your son trigger in you when he doesn’t listen?
- What is your son’s behavior telling you?
- What’s not working?
- How do you want it to work?
- What’s getting in the way of being the parent you want to be?
If this scenario happens in your world, ask yourself these questions.
Leadership starts when we take responsibility.