It's Often A Choice - Influence or Control?

One of the most challenging transitions in parenting fall into the season that we call 'adolescence'.  It's not only a tough time for the young person because they are undergoing so much change in their body, and hormones, and relationships.  It's also a challenge to parents because of a shift that starts to happen then as well.

Early on in a child's life, the emphasis is all about enforcement. When kids are preschoolers, its all about keeping them safe and functional.  So we are saying 'no' all day long to create healthy boundaries and enforce good attitudes.

But as I child becomes a teen, you can't just enforce on them any longer.  Now you have to persuade, coach, and encourage them to CHOOSE the right course of action.  This is what makes this season so terrifying!!!

But parents who learn how to influence their children, learn a skill that they will use with their children for the rest of their lives together.  Many parents, however, can't seem to make that adjustment.   What they know is CONTROL through enforcement.  And when that doesn't work any longer, some parents choose to use CONTROL through emotions.  Guilt, shame, pressure, and drama are often the tools use to manipulate kids to do what we want them to do.

By the way, this is not just a choice that parents have to make (influence or control).  It's a choice that every person who is in leadership has to make.  How will I lead my company, my department, my ministry, my family?

Technically, all leadership is INFLUENCE.  Anything less, is something that is not really leadership. When someone has a position of authority, and has little influence with others, all they can do is rely on the power of their office to force those around them to conform to what they want.  So the 'positional leader' might have a title, but without the skills of 'influence' they have little ability to actually lead.

So what is involved in INFLUENCE?

#1 - MODELING - you can't lead anywhere you are not willing to go.

#2 - CULTIVATING - people grow when an atmosphere is created for them to thrive and develop.

#3 - TRUTH-TELLING - personal development is based on honest feedback.  I can't grow if you hide from me what I need to address.

#4 - ENCOURAGING - but if all I get is confronted, then I will lose heart.  Every ounce of feedback needs to come through the filer of faith.  It needs to be said over over, "I believe in you."

#5 - COACHING - Influence involves helping people think well about everything in their life.

These are just a few of the qualities that are involved.  What happens when you start practicing the above five?  People want to be around you.  They want to follow you.  They look to you as a major force for good in their life.

What an amazing thing it is when your own kids see you as an influence in their life, not just because you hold the title 'parent' but because you have become a force for good in their world.

Kat Kelley