1) Lead and Inspire- You want to motivate and inspire your children. Given the facts that it’s natural for children to test boundaries yet equally natural for children to imitate parents’ behavior, the best way to influence and lead them is through your actions. If you want them to be respectful to others, be respectful to them and to others in their presence. If you want her to listen, then listen to her. Your child will learn to be patient and express gratitude if you show her how. You’re a role model so you might as well use it to your advantage. Lead and inspire through your words and actions.
2) Believe and Praise- Parenting and any form of leadership, is all about balance and communication. While it’s certainly best to be specific with praise and to focus on effort, the best way to motivate children (long before we wish to praise them) is simply to believe in them. You empower your child with your belief and encouragement. He will learn to believe in himself and be motivated to pursue his dreams with confidence. You will discover more and more opportunities to shower him with your genuine congratulations.
3) Love and Respect- Respect is a gateway to compliance. Compliance gets a bad rap, but the simple truth is that we all want our children to listen. The good news is that you can set limits clearly and still convey love and respect; all you have to do is add a simple explanation. Consistently remind your child you have her best interests in mind. Every time you explain a limit, you show her that you love and respect her. When she protests (and she will), be ready to listen and empathize, but stand firm in the knowledge that your reasons are sound.
4) Teach and Learn- As parents, it’s up to us to help children interpret and learn from the inevitable adversities of life. If we can begin to see challenges and even failures as opportunities for learning, then each test is a means to strengthen your bond with your child and for her to ultimately succeed. If we react to our own mistakes and to our children’s with honesty and understanding, and focus on the lessons and future improvement, our children will learn to do the same.
5) Live and Enjoy- Two incredibly important steps toward success of any kind are to focus on the present and to enjoy it as much as possible. Often parenting can seem thankless and exhausting. But if we bring that kind of energy to the equation, our children will naturally emulate it. Likewise, if we consciously strive to enjoy our children and our role as parents, our children will grow to be more enjoyable. You will find that when you are in the moment, each day will bring success to you and your family.
Tom Limbert is a Parent Coach in the San Francisco Bay Area and can be found online at parentcoachtom.com. Tom has been working with families of young children since 1992. He is the author of the new gift book Dad’s Playbook: Wisdom for Fathers from the Greatest Coaches of All Time.