Leading a Family

Written by Dr. John Townsend

April 30, 2018

What does it mean to serve as the head of a family?

A family is really an oven, growing people to be the best they can be, to learn their talents, to feel loved, to feel like they have choices, etc. To lead a family unit is to influence your kin to be the best oven of growth possible.

As a household leader (which usually means a Mom or a Dad), you’re going to influence your family; it’s up to you to create a place where all the elements of growth and the kids’ work come together.

If you are leading with integrity, that means you’re working hard, God’s working hard, and really good things happen. Leadership is an influence.

Why Is Leading A Family Important?

First off, leading a family is an expression of love. I mean, one of the primary feelings we feel inside is that we love our kids. When you have kids, they can sort-of drive you crazy, but they’re also the people you love more than anything in the world.

Simple fact – kids can’t do it on their own.

By definition, a kid can’t lead a family. Sometimes, you see this happening with absent and dysfunctional parents when you’ve got somebody 11 years old who has to be a grown-up. This isn’t fair – kids can’t do it.

Basically, a parent is the person who has the maturity, structure, and all the tolerance and wisdom to pull it off. You can’t expect a child to have these things and lead a family!

Another important thing about leading a family is you really want to work yourself out of a job. Your job as a good parent, really as a good leader of a family, is to work yourself out of a job. Your goal should be to be fired, so to speak, one future day at the right time. If you’re always somebody’s parent at 25, and 35, and 45, you’ve still got children.

When you think about it like this, the end goal for your children is really autonomy. The goal in leading a family is for your kids go out and win the world themselves.

Your job as a family leader is to help your kids be self-sufficient and find their life in their own way.

When In Doubt, Be Warm

Another thing about leading a family is, sometimes it can be tough! When in doubt, move to warmth, and when there’s still doubt, move to strictness.

In great meta-studies, researchers found out that warmth and strictness from parents made for highly-functioning children over a long period of time.

So, what is warmth? Simply put, it’s just getting on their level and talking to them about life. Learn and apply listening skills and get them to open up.

Part of being the leader of a family is applying appropriate strictness. Functional families need boundaries, house rules, ground rules, consequences, and values.

This also means that you’ve got to be the one with a thick skin and let people hate you. This is how families grow together.  I mean, it’s a tale as old as time – kids must hate you (respectfully) and rebel, which will ultimately result in (fair) consequences. The big thing is that you can’t take this personally – it’s part of growing up and they will grow out of it.

Final Thoughts

Part of leading a family is giving your kids room to grow. Be the good parent that lets them make other friends. Keep in mind that they’ve got to be the right friends, hopefully, with good parents, you can trust You don’t want your kids to be around toxic friends, but if you’ve done your job right you won’t have to worry about this. Instead, learn when to start letting go of the reins a bit and trust your kids to pick the right people to spend their time with.

Struggling to connect with your children? Get real-world guidance today from TownsendNOW!

 

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