Leadership in Parenting: Modeling

by | Apr 14, 2017 | Leadership | 0 comments

This series is about viewing parenting from the perspective of leadership and developing future leaders. Being a parent is the most basic—and most vital—of all leadership roles, though it’s rarely thought of that way. I wish someone would have oriented me to this perspective before I became a father. Parenting is the single most challenging thing I’ve ever done. Having this focus would have taken me out of reaction (or sometimes survival) mode and given me more vision on what I was doing and how I was doing it. I hope parents find it helpful.


I’m starting this series with the topic of modeling because it is so powerful, so long-lasting and may very well have a greater impact than anything else parents do.

And I’m guessing most parents never think about it.

Modeling may very well have a greater impact than anything else parents do.

Modeling is the concept that we learn from observing the behavior of others, particularly those who we respect, admire or who exert some level of influence over us.

“And Your Point Is…?”

What you say to your kids is important, but it’s inconsequential compared to what you do—the actions they see day-in and day-out. What you model is what they’ll remember (and most likely imitate).

What you say to your kids is important, but it’s inconsequential compared to what you do.

So What?

Think about how you react to bad news, setback, disappointments, etc. Think about how you approach victory or success or finances or relationship issues. Every action you take is a live demonstration to your kids about what is normal, expected and possible.

Watch yourself. If you want modeling to work in your favor you have to be consistent and intentional. You also should be aware. Self-observe your habits (good and bad) and know what they look like from your kids’ perspective. Be aware of the subtleties of your tone of voice and facial expressions, and how they appear on both good days and bad days.

And most of all, make sure you model your core values (there’s a separate post coming on values), not just talk about them. If you talk but don’t live them, rest assured your kids will know they aren’t important and they won’t adopt them as their own.

Don’t hide your failure; instead, show your kids how to handle failure. Be transparent. Show them that failure can bring more learning than success.

If you talk but don’t live your core values, rest assured your kids will know they aren’t important and they won’t adopt them as their own.

The Big Picture

There are exceptions, of course, but the general principle in parenting is that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. When it’s all said and done, kids will be like their parents. They’ll do it in their own way, with their own personality and style, but on so many levels they’ll imitate what they’ve seen lived out before them as they’ve grown up. It’s a powerful concept.

Part of the of leadership discipline is demonstrating the behavior you want those following you to adopt. The good news? You’re in charge of what that looks like.

The general principle in parenting is that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Your Next Step

What will you do to start being more aware of your parenting behavior?

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