On Becoming a Parent worth Following: Leadership-Based Parenting

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I had spent the entire day quietly studying leadership for my graduate classes, when at 3:45 my solitude was interrupted by my two young sons barreling through the front door. Upon entering, they threw off their hat and coats as if they were on fire, flung their shoes halfway across the room and immediately began grilling me with questions. “What’s for dinner?”, “Can I play with my friend?”, “Can I watch t.v?, “I’m hungry, can I have a snack?”, “No, seriously, what’s for dinner?”, “Can I play video games?” I took a few deep breaths and pleaded for them to slow down and give me some space. It was probably my determined 8 year-old’s demand to immediately pay him the allowance I owed him from some indeterminate amount of weeks that put me over the edge. I yelled at my kids to, “Stop!” and “Go play!” I refused to answer any questions and went on a hand-waving wild rant about how it’s no fun to have your kids walk in the door and immediately demand service like I was their personal life waiter. When I finished, my wide-eyed boys sunk to some recess of our house- realizing they had crossed the line and made dad crazy.

As I returned to my readings on leadership a vague feeling of guilt washed over me for yelling at my kids. I hated to be yelled at growing up and even more so as an adult. I felt this separation between what I just did as a parent and the successful leadership behavior I was reading about. A question then came to me: If my family was like a company and I was it’s CEO, based on what I’m reading, would I be considered a quality leader? I don’t remember reading about yelling, fits of anger, moodiness, and distracted communication making the list of characteristics of a well-loved and respected leader.

I think it’s interesting how we spend so much energy during the day giving our best to the people we work with. We try to be even-keeled, respectful, receiving input from others in decision-making, listening well, and overall trying to be kind. But, as soon as our car pulls in the driveway we attempt to unplug, allowing work to wash away for a while. But, unfortunately, along with that withdrawing wave is all the energy we put into social niceness. Then, as we walk in the door we’re short-tempered, snippy, and unkind. We bark orders and expect them to be followed immediately. We’re not quite the same person we were all day long.

I began to wonder why there’s such a disconnect between all the amazing leadership principles I’m learning for work application, and the leadership I apply in my personal household? Really, there should be no difference. Everything I learn about creating a workplace people love to be a part of could apply to what I create for my family. I want to become a leader people at work, and at home want to follow.

So, I’d like to take a few blog posts to talk about Leadership-Based Parenting. What does it look like to apply classic leadership techniques to our parenting styles? To help with this process, I’d like to introduce you to Thorne Inc. This is new, non-existent corporation is based around my family. I’d like to ask the question, if I viewed running my family like I was running a great business, what would I do differently?

I’d like to leave you with these questions:

  • To what extent are you the same kind of leader at home and at work?
  • If you described a leader you’d love to follow, does that describe your parenting?
  • If your family was a company and you were the CEO, would you want to work for you and be a part of your family culture?

I have some fun things planned for this blog post series. Make sure to subscribe to this blog to not miss out. Also, I’ve created a new page called, “Thorne Inc.” on Facebook. I might post a few things there that are not posted here on my blog. Make sure to share this post with anyone you think would enjoy this series.