Influence…every parent wants to have influence with their kids. But how?
Think about someone who influenced you over the years. It may be someone you admired…someone you looked up to…someone you listened to. Now, with that person in mind, think about one quality that gave them influence in your life. Why did you listen to them? How did they earn influence with you? The answer probably had more to do with their heart than with their head.
The same is true when it comes to influencing our own children. I want to borrow an acronym from Tim Elmore’s book, “Nurturing the Leader Within Your Child” to help us foster influence in the lives of our children.
I – Invest in Them
Investment leads to influence. At different stages in their development, the investment is going to be different. It will range from giving them your time to giving them something to help them grow.
N – Natural with Them
Be yourself, show them your humanity (warts and all), but remain true to your God-given authority. This means we discipline them when they get out of line and we apologize when we get out of line.
F – Faith in Them
One of the best ways to influence your children is to believe in them. We listen to people that believe in us. Make sure you notice the good things they do, not just the times they mess up.
L – Listen to Them
Listening is a lost art that we must recover if we wish to have influence with our kids. When we fail to listen to our children we lose both trust and intimacy. Sometimes our children don’t need answers…they simply need us to listen.
U – Understand Them
The more you know about your kids the more influence you will have with them. Understand the uniqueness of your children so you can pour into them in a more relevant and personal way.
E – Encourage Them
Find the good in your children and affirm it. Don’t just say nice things; say them when they count. Be specific with your encouragement.
N – Navigate for Them
Kids need direction from us. At first, your children will depend on you for guidance. As they get older, begin providing options for them to choose. Being a good navigator means teaching them how to navigate life on their own.
C – Concern for Them
If we want to gain influence, we must display concern, care and compassion. Be creative and think out of the box. Don’t just come up with verbal ways to say, “I love you”…think of ways to say it visually as well. The by-product of love is influence.
E – Enthusiasm over Them
People give influence to someone who is passionate about their life, their future, and their interest. Why do think grandparents are so popular with kids?
There may be seasons when you don’t feel very influential but always remember your kids are always watching. And like it or not, you are the most influential person in their lives.
What might happen if we practiced these nine ingredients for influence year after year? I believe our influence will increase in the lives of our kids.
How do you influence your kids?