| from Lauren Roman |
Parents are the most influential leaders in their children’s lives. Yet, many mothers and fathers who want to improve their children’s behavior omit a very important part of the process. They neglect to examine their own behavior as parents!
It’s a universal rule of effective leadership: Instead of focusing on how to get people to follow you, focus on being a leader worth following.
We naturally trust and follow leaders who consistently demonstrate that they are worth following. That’s true in businesses, churches, communities… pretty much any gathering of two or more people. Families included!
If you want to build trust with your kids, it’s important to be attentive, empathetic, and trustworthy with whatever they choose to share with you. But trustworthiness isn’t just a matter of your reactions – e.g. your response when a loved one confides in you – it’s also a matter of your actions, your proactive behavior.
Consistently demonstrating trustworthiness is essential for any leader worth following. Your words and actions need to be aligned for your kids to trust your leadership.
If you tell your child you’re going to respond to a particular behavior with a positive or negative consequence, you must follow through. If a promised reward isn’t honored, or a forewarned penalty isn’t enforced, you’ve demonstrated that your word isn’t trustworthy.
It doesn’t matter if the situation is major or minor – your words must translate into action for your kids to trust you.
We know from God’s word that “he who is faithful with little will be given more.” Likewise, when someone isn’t faithful with small things, we have no reason to believe they’ll be faithful with big things! Any time our words don’t translate into action, even if the particular instance seems inconsequential, we lose credibility.
Think of credibility like a bank account. Suppose you start with a $1,000 balance. Each time you build trust with your child, $10 is deposited to your account. But a $50 fee is charged each time you break trust. You try not to, but it does happen every now and again. Just small stuff, though… for something big, when it really counts, you’ll definitely come through.
Unfortunately, this $50 fee also applies for each “do as I say, not as I do” parenting moment. You tell your son he’s not allowed to shout at his sister, but he overhears Mom and Dad shouting at each other. You tell your daughter not to obsess about her appearance, but she sees Mom spend an hour on hair and makeup and change her outfit three times before the family heads to church.
Eventually, something big comes along. You need to write a $500 credibility check for your child to trust you in this situation that really counts. But the check is rejected – insufficient funds! Turns out your charges have far outweighed your deposits. And overdraft protection doesn’t exist for credibility accounts.
If we don’t sustain and build our account balance, we have insufficient credibility for our kids to maintain their trust in us.
If we demonstrate our credibility and consistently prove ourselves trustworthy, our kids can maintain trust in us. When we intentionally grow our account balance over time, their trust will increase as well.
As we are consistently trustworthy, we have the currency needed to become leaders worth following.
Author Lauren Roman is a creative communicator, truth teller, and enthusiastic encourager who captivates audiences of all kinds. Her eclectic career began in her teens with a starring role on the ABC soap All My Children, continued with more TV and film (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Nashville, Grace Unplugged), and now encompasses speaking, singing, and writing. Lauren inspires others toward true identity and freedom in Christ, sharing from her own journey as a “recovering perfectionist” with bold transparency, emotion, humor, and practical biblical insights. Uniting ladies of all ages and life stages, she addresses tough topics like recovery, food/body image issues, sexual integrity, identity/self-acceptance, and mental health, sparking important multi-generational conversations. For the past decade, Lauren has delivered impactful keynotes for women, youth, and pro-life ministry events. Her messages reach thousands of parents and families through her role as a Celebrate Kids Associate Writer and Speaker. A lifelong poet, Lauren is thrilled to launch her debut children’s book Think Good, Be Good! in 2021. For more information or to schedule Lauren for your next live or virtual event, please visit: laurenroman.com.