The Law of Influence is simple to understand, but complicated when dealing with situations involving your children.
To influence someone to follow a particular path takes great patience, understanding, and encouragement.
Some of us have grown up with a parent that had a more dictatorial style, barking orders and expecting everyone to comply.
That simply does not build relationship.
Our goal with our children is to build relationships that show them we love them, we care for them, and we have their best interests at the core of everything we do.
And if you focus on rules and enforcing them, but forget that your children need to know the “Why” behind the rules, you are going to have some rough times.
There is an old maxim about rules and relationship that goes like this:
Rules without Relationship = Rebellion
To effectively lead, you must exhibit a positive and compelling influence upon your children.
To influence them, you need to take time to really think about the outcome you wish to see, and then think about how they will hear and react to your message.
One of my favorite techniques for influencing my children is to encourage and praise them for actions I want them to take, even when they haven’t done them.
You heard that right – I praise them for it, even though they really haven’t exhibited the action in a consistent way.
Here’s an example:
When my daughter turned 13, I expected her to start becoming more responsible and helping out my wife with chores around the house. However, I wasn’t seeing that happen, even though I had shared that expectation with her.
So one evening when just the two of us were alone in the kitchen, I told her how I noticed signs of her maturity starting to bloom. And one area I said I had noticed was how she was proactively performing chores in the kitchen that needed to be done without being asked. (I actually had seen her do this once, so I wasn’t lying to her. She just wasn’t very consistent.) She beamed at the compliment.
To my surprise, the next day I came home my wife told me how this very daughter had washed the dishes on her own without being asked.
Sounds trivial, but it was a big step towards that becoming a habit.
Remember, your kids love to hear your praise, they love to know you noticed their efforts, and they love to hear they are becoming more mature.
The other very obvious technique we must use is making sure our children see us doing what we are asking of them.
For instance, they should see me vacuum the floor just because I noticed it was dirty. Or clean off the counters when it was their responsibility, just to help out.
Setting this type of example is basic influence, but it will carry far into the relationship when they are older and more apt to be independent minded or even rebellious.
So as you think about your interactions with your kids, are you leading by example and thinking about how you can influence them to build good habits?
Q: Can you remember an interaction where things didn’t go so well?
Which of the above techniques or actions could you have used that may have led to a better outcome?
Comment below if you have used one of these techniques, or have found success with other techniques that can help other fathers.
Thanks in advance for sharing your experiences!