Parenting is more than just providing for and taking care of your children in the physical sense. We are raising people, not animals. These people have emotions, ideas, dreams, fears, etc. and we need to connect with them if we are to guide them.
Our parenting must include building a relationship with our children so that we know what is going on with them. We can’t parent virtually or expect inaction to get the job done.
In cleaning out my nightstand, I found a book I had long forgotten about. It was a good discovery. In thumbing through it, I was reminded of lessons that are very applicable today.
How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie can teach us a lot about developing relationships with our children. Selling over 15 million copies, it is one of the best selling books of all time. His 30 principles can be applied to parenting to help us build strong relationships with our children…
Dale Carnegie’s 30 Principles To Win Friends & Influence People as applied to parenting.
1. Don’t Criticize, Condemn or Complain – The fear of a parent being negative and grilling them will prevent kids from being open. Listen to what they have to say FIRST. Most kids know when they do something wrong and having a parent harp on it doesn’t help.
2. Give Honest, Sincere, Appreciation – Be thankful for them and things that they do. This will show them that you value them and it will build their confidence.
3. Arouse In Your Children An Eager Want – Understand your children’s likes and dislikes. They look at the world from THEIR perspective and we better know what that is.
4. Become Genuinely Interested In Them – Take time to get to know them. These can’t be passing, quick interactions. If your children see their interests are important to you, it will open up more opportunities for discussion.
5. Smile – Let them see that you find joy in being with them. Even when you don’t feel up to it or have other things going on, smiling can help. Your kids can’t see what is going on in your head. They can only observe what you show them.
6. Remember That A Person’s Name Is To That Person The Sweetest And Most Important Sound In Any Language – Speak TO them rather than AT them. You are speaking to someone you love and wish to grow a relationship with. TONE is everything.
7. Be A Good Listener. Encourage Them To Talk About Themselves – Let them talk about all the little things in their lives. Those are the things that are important to THEM. Ask questions and show enthusiasm.
8. Talk In Terms Of Their Interests – Use language that they can understand. Use examples of things going on in their lives. It will show you have been listening to them.
9. Make Them Feel Important – And Do It Sincerely – Acknowledge how proud you are of them and that they have value in the family. Pay them compliments on things they do well.
10. The Only Way To Get The Best Of An Argument Is To Avoid It – Getting into a battle with your children does more harm than is necessary. A patient discussion about the disagreement will go further.
11. Show Respect For Their Opinion. Never Say, “You’re Wrong.” – Try to see things from their point of view. How you disagree with them can set the stage for other interactions.
12. If You Are Wrong Admit It Quickly And Emphatically – Learn to say “I’m sorry”. Let your children understand that you make mistakes as well and give them an example of humility to follow.
13. Begin In A Friendly Manner – If you have had a bad day, don’t take it out on your kids. Make sure to give them your best, even when you are at your worst.
14. Get Them Saying “Yes, Yes” – Focus on areas where there is agreement. Not everyone is going to see eye to eye all the time. Find common ground and work together.
15. Let Them Do A Great Deal Of The Talking – Let them get things out. You will find out more about them and they will be more eager to share.
16. Let Them Feel That The Idea Is Theirs – Let them take credit for things you do together. Give them the chance to feel good about themselves and the contributions they make.
17. Try Honestly To See Things From Their Point Of View – When there is difficulty, try to walk in their shoes. Try to see WHY they have a specific opinion or reaction.
18. Be Sympathetic With Their Ideas And Desires – Not every idea or desire we have is a good one. Be open to where they are at in their lives and be understanding. You were once a child as well.
19. Appeal To The Nobler Motives – Let them know they are good and valuable. Encourage what they do well and trust they will tend to make good decisions.
20. Dramatize Your Ideas – Use stories and examples with them. They haven’t had the experiences you have had and may need help relating to what you are trying to say.
21. Throw Down A Challenge – Give them a goal and reward them for completing it.
22. Begin With Praise And Honest Appreciation – When you do have to correct them, start with positive things first.
23. Call Attention To Their Mistakes Indirectly – Let them figure out their mistakes on their own. Give them some direction but let the lesson be theirs.
24. Talk About Your Own Mistakes Before Criticizing Them – Let your life lessons also teach them. It will be easier for them to handle your evaluation if they feel you have also been there.
25. Ask Questions Instead Of Giving Direct Orders – You are more likely to get things done when your kids do not see you as a task master. It will also improve you relationship with them.
26. Let Them Save Face – Do not be quick to rub things in and show your children that they are wrong. You want them to learn from their mistakes and putting them on the defensive will not help.
27. Praise The Slightest Improvement And Praise Every Improvement. – Encourage them in their growth. Reward their effort and their accomplishments.
28. Give Them A Fine Reputation To Live Up To – Speak highly of them to others and let them hear you do it. You will be building their confidence and this will improve how they view themselves.
29. Use Encouragement. Make The Fault Seem Easy To Correct – Do not make big productions out of mistakes. You want them to tell you when they screw up. Show them what they can do to make improvements and let them take action.
30. Make Them Happy About Doing The Thing You Suggest – Let them take ownership over their ideas. They have to learn from experience and be willing to take chances.
Relationships are not built overnight, but applying these principles to your parenting will make a massive difference. This quote by Frederick Douglass shows what is at stake…
If you liked this post, please share so others may as well. If you got any value from this post, share it twice