If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, I hope I’m not alone when I complain about my delinquent, incredibly disobedient, obnoxious kids. I may be exaggerating a teeny tiny bit (much sarcasm, I’m exaggerating a lot), but I still hope I’m not alone out there. Kids are awesome and awful, as I’ve said before, but, as I’ve heard asked on a podcast this week, just as the people in your world get on your last nerves, how many times have you gotten on Jesus’ last nerve?
Um…no comment. Carry on kids.
So I guess my kids are not as bad as I perceive them to be. And, as it turns out, most people are not as annoying as I perceive them to be. This means there is a problem with me. Yes, I know some of you have been trying to tell me this for years. More specifically in terms of my kids, there is a problem with my technique in getting buy-in from them.
I am not a persuasive guy. I am not the rallying type to encourage people to get behind me and my plan and follow me into the jungle where the heart of battle is or other manly things. I’m more of a follower and too easygoing to be the glue to keep people together or the general leading his soldiers into battle. Although I may not be a persuasive leader, I am persistent. Maybe one day, Tasha will write a guest post on the reason we’re married is only because I wouldn’t leave.
I’m not the alpha dog, but I am a dog with a bone that I will not let go of. The majority of Zoey’s personality is from Tasha. One part of her personality she gets from me is not letting go of that bone if she doesn’t want to. If I ask her to do something and she doesn’t want to do it, we get into a shouting match that consists of a volley of “Listen!” and “No!” until Tasha has to step in and send us to separate corners. If Tasha is not home, though, the shouting goes on longer until The Voice and Look of Doom from me comes out, tears on Zoey start to flow, and she ends up in time out.
A tried and true parenting tactic…that doesn’t work. Unless the goal is to send kids to school crying, or running to their room, and to get parents all riled up, angry, and on a rampage testing the fortitude of every door and hinge in the house. Then that mission will be accomplished.
I am lucky because my wife is a sales manager, and she spends a lot of her time managing the emotions and mindset of her team and their customers. The same techniques and tactics apply to managing the emotions and mindset of kids…and husbands, so it seems. Because she has this skill set, one, she tries to teach me how to be a better father (and in some scenarios a better human) and, two, how I can encourage my kids to LISTEN OR ELSE! I mean, encourage them to make good decisions, which should be the goal of parents, all parents.
We all want our kids to be doctors or lawyers, or CEOs or whatever it is that is better than what we are doing so they don’t have to struggle as we have, struggles that often come from making bad decisions. Myself, I made bad decisions with money and school. I spent a lot of money I didn’t have, and I didn’t study when I should have. We are going to make bad decisions as our kids will and that is where we bank experience and wisdom into our character, but if we (meaning all parents) can train our kids to minimize those mistakes that can bring world peace and end child hunger. Oh, wait, sorry. I went into my Miss America speech.
So here are some resources for you. Don’t be thrown off or scared away by the title, but go to EmergeSalesTraining.com, subscribe to the newsletter or check out the podcast or both. As you can tell by the site, it is aimed at salespeople, but the principles, if applied, will make you a more effective patient. Parent. Not mental patient. Parent.
Full disclosure: this is my wife’s coaching business, and she knows what she’s talking about. She’s been a manager for over 10 years and continually receives awards for her team’s performance every year. She is such a good teacher that I’ve learned to sell her every day, month, and year on why she should stay married to me.
And it works!
Most days, anyway. Luckily, also for me that she is often too tired at the end of the day to evaluate my daily effort and participation.
At least check out the podcast (click for iTunes users, click for stitcher users ) and, in particular Episode 8. In this episode, Tasha was trying to get Zoey to go to hockey practice. Zoey went to a clinic, loved the first one or two sessions, but she didn’t want to go out on the next one and wouldn’t say why. So it’s not just about discipline but how to talk to and relate to your kids in an effective and influential manner without having to put the foot down.
Just tonight, actually, I was able to be a more calm, gentler daddy. Tasha had a friend over and they were talking. Haley came over and asked for milk, and I offered to get it for her. However, she wanted mommy. Most times this is when we hit a crossroads and “She better listen or else!” which ends up with her in timeout and Tasha has to step in. Luckily kids are easily distracted, like husbands. She was wearing a pair of princess slippers and took them off, so I suggested she go put them away if she wasn’t going to wear them. I walked with her to the other room to put the shoes away and then suggested she show me the pages the did in her math book (yes, she has a preschool math book so she can be like her sister; and we’re Asian, it’s what we do). She started to show me, and then I asked her if I could get her milk while she works on the next page of her book. The easy thing for me to do is scream. I took a moment to try and talk to her this time. And it worked! If it works for me, it can work for you.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for tough discipline, but just think about how you feel when your boss explains things to you and talks to you like a person versus when they bark orders at you and tell you to get it done while also threatening your job. That’s the big one that I have had to learn and still need frequent refreshers: screaming at your kids just leads to them screaming back. So check out the podcast and the site for some helpful parenting tips. Or if you happen to be in sales and need some help getting over the hump, check out EmergeSalesTraining.com.
I’m going to call my parents and apologize now.
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