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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

100% Accountable When Talking To Our Kids

Do you feel responsible for how your kids hear you when you talk to them?  Do you inspire positive action when you speak?  In Loretta Malandro's book, Say it Right The First Time, she asserts the need for leaders (it is a business book actually rather than a parenting one) to be 100% accountable for their communication.  This means that if you say something to your son and he does not understand you, it is your fault.  Let me repeat that, it is YOUR fault if he does not get it.

I am going to take some professional license here and assume that we can put ourselves as parents into the role of leader for the purposes of this discussion.  We are after all (nominally) in charge at home.

This topic has two applications to the theme of Headhunter Dad.  The first is improved communication between parent and child.  Better communication up front will result in less yelling later on and less stress for everyone involved. If we are trying to communicate our expectations to our sons and daughters but they are not getting it that is our fault.  We are likely to be frustrated when they don't live up to our ideals which then leads to a loss of confidence and our kids feeling that, "I can't do anything right." OR, "No matter what I do I am going to get in trouble so why bother trying."  As my regular readers know, employers out there want Confident Self-Starters.

The second benefit to taking responsibility for what we say and how we say it to our kids is that they will learn to apply the same approach themselves.  If you ask any employer to rank the importance of accountability and communication in the workplace you will find that they place these attributes consistently in the top five regardless of function or industry.  Teaching this approach requires us to admit when we are wrong in order to make the point.  They won't learn it if we don't practice what we preach.  If I explained something to my daughter and then later found out that she did not get it I could follow up with, "I realize that I did not explain that clearly enough. Let's go over it again in a different way."  Taking responsibility openly and verbally is a way of teaching our kids through example.  One of the most powerful forms of communication we have to influence them.

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