The Power of Parental Influence – How Parents Influence Behavior & Self-Leadership

Parents, never doubt or diminish your ability to influence your child or teen’s behavior and self-leadership through the power of parental iInfluence.  A child or teen, properly influenced, will develop the ability to not only to lead themselves, but to lead their peers as well.  However, parents, it starts with your leadership. And the leadership of the mentors which you allow into your child or teen’s life. They are important as well. When you find an effective teacher, coach, Sunday school teacher, or other mentors, establish a relationship with them. Partner with your child’s mentor to positively influence your son or daughter.

Parents here is some great parenting advice. Leadership is simply you positively influencing your son or daughter.  Let me give you an example of positive influencing. Each summer I work with a group of teens at a leadership camp in Oklahoma.  When the young men graduate the camp, they will have earned a saber with their name and favorite scripture engraved upon it.   I and my assistant camp commander, who we call Graybeard, teach them servant leadership. We also teach them how to drill and march with their saber.  It is all silent drill with no cadence called.  It is essentially one big team building evolution, as they not only learn a routine, but how to work with each other.

Graybeard and I, both tell and demonstrate what is expected. Then we allow the teens to do it themselves.  Without a doubt some, if not all, will say how frustrated they are. How they will never learn the routine. Graybeard and I are patient. We explain, demonstrate and have them do it over and over until a key segment of the routine clicks in their actions. And when it does, that is when things really get interesting. I stop them in their tracks and have them fall in in front of me. This is when my “I believed in you, even when you didn’t” speech starts. Loudly, I go up and down the line praising each and everyone for their part in making the particular section of the routine work. 

One by one I repeated what that individual said they could not do, but ended up doing well.  I told them how Graybeard and I always believed in them.  They only had to believe in themselves.  Then we ask them what they were waiting for? Get back out there and show us again why we are right to believe in you. It’s basically a very loud, personal praise fest where we positively wind them up and set them back to the task at hand.  And it works every time.  The teens will jog back to the parade field and repeat the routine. 

When mistakes are made, they are the ones to catch it, explain how to do it correctly, demonstrate the correct way to do it and try again.  They often praise and edify each other.  Graybeard and I find a comfortable chair to pass the time.  Eventually a teen will run up and want to show us how the team is doing.  By graduation day, the routine has come together and they contribute it all to myself and Graybeard.  We have to remind them we only showed the way. We led them through influence. Then they made the journey to success by influencing each other and leading themselves.

And it is important to take the time to identify the mentors in your child’s life and team up with them to influence your child or teen.  When I was a pre-teen, I had a wonderful mentor in a boy/teen Christian mentorship program called Royal Rangers.  Between my dad and my Royal Ranger leader, I could not get away with anything.  They exchanged verbal notes on me on a regular basis.  I was positively influenced coming and going.  I did not make it easy on either one of them.  I frustrated both of them many times.  Never-the-less, they never stopped being a positive influence and I eventually learned to led myself and others.

My father and my Royal Ranger leader established a very solid foundation for me.  And even with all the temptations and distractions of this world; I never strayed too far from the path of common sense. Even when I left home and joined the military.  And when I did find myself straying from the path, there was that strong lighthouse. The one my father and Royal Ranger commander had established a lighthouse upon a strong foundation. 

The light from that lighthouse was the memory of what they had taught me and of what they had lived out by personal example.  Today, I’m a Royal Ranger leader.  I explain, show and allow my boys and teens to lead. Then I, publicly, acknowledge excellence the moment (or not too long after).  I have adults who are amazed when they see a junior high pre-teen take charge of a group of elementary aged boys.  And that the boys actually obey and follow the pre-teen. Parents working with their child’s mentors is an important element in your child and teen pathway to becoming self-led.

Parents, single parents, guardians, grand parents, foster parents, etc. I want to challenge you today to set a new standard for yourselves. Use the power of parental iInfluence with your child..  Determine in your mind that you are going to be a daily positive influence on your child. Take the time and build the patience to explain how to do things.  Demonstrate what you want done and then have them do it. 

And when, they get it right let them know it.  They may not have put the dishes and pots away like you would.  But they are not you. The main point was it done.  Take the time to positively acknowledge all the things that went right.  Then work with them on what could be better and how you know they are going to get it right. How you are looking forward to when they get it just right. And parent, in the end, if you take a step back; the way they organized the dishes & pots and pans may actually be more efficient than your way.