Caregiver or Coach
When your kids are small, your personal resources, such as your time and patience, have to be dedicated to their protection and well-being. As they grow, however, your child will start to push back against your nurturing and strive to tend to their own needs.
They will try to do their own decision making. They will strive, and you may even see them construct a plan that is not a good idea. During these times, it’s crucial to remember that
- errors are excellent learning opportunities
- fixing that error will teach your child patience, and
- the only thing worse than making a mistake is not trying at all.
That being said, it can be very upsetting to see your child struggling to overcome a mistake. Be ready to help, but if you know your child can handle the labour it will take to make the correction, step back and let them. By this act, you can serve as a good mentor and trainer, which is a critical skill in a leader.
It’s good to show your kids that leaders need help, make mistakes and require feedback from the troops. While not all kids can handle all decisions, part of parenting and leadership will require you to seek information and ideas from your kids.
For example, if your family budget isn’t as robust as in years past, your vacation plans may need to change. If your family has been impacted by quarantine or illness, you may not be able to visit anywhere that’s particularly crowded or a tourist destination. Getting feedback from older children about things you can do and places you can go can help you gather information about their favourite places and modes of travel.
Deal With Difficult Circumstances
If you’re considering a marriage annulment or divorce, the well-being of your children will likely be top of mind. Proper care of your kids will include all adults in their sphere, including grandparents. Aunts and uncles who desire a connection may not have legal standing, but you will have to consider what your divorce or annulment of marriage will cost your child if a beloved aunt or uncle is left out of the mix.
While these are legal decisions at the base of understanding, they are human choices when considering the well-being of your child. If things get contentious, your ability to develop a successful program for co-parenting with your ex will be put at risk.
The situation that must be avoided is the custody tug-of-war. Do whatever it takes, as a leader and a parent, to avoid this. No matter who is pulling in a tug of war or how hard, the highest level of stress falls on the rope. Don’t do this to your child.
Build A Plan To Move Forward
Leaders, whether in business or in the military, have to know how to pick up the pieces and move forward. Once the basics of your child’s well-being and safety are met, they will need help adjusting to the new reality of their situation.
Questions such as
- Where will your child live?
- How often will they have to move?
- How will they get to school?
- Who will provide transportation for extracurricular activities?
- How will you and your co-parent manage holidays?
Depending on their age, your children may not be able to grasp concerns about financial decisions such as child support. They do need to know that the everyday aspects of their lives will be addressed and supported.
Family harmony will suffer if these basics of everyday living are uncertain. Your child may suffer anxiety or be unwilling to sign up for things they’d really like to do but don’t want to commit to. You may need to ask your child to limit activities or choose an area to focus on, but take care not to shut down their options.
Choosing Where To Expand
Whether you’re a military leader or a business owner, you will find that once stability is established, you can start to move forward. If your financials are solid, invite your children to participate in setting savings goals. Even small children can participate in a focus on frugality for the end goal of a trip to an amusement park.
It can be tempting to protect your child from every error. Watching them fight their way out of a mistake or stretch of bad luck can be agonizing. However, fixing your own mistakes is a great way to learn. To quote Erma Bombeck, getting your child airborne is a lot of work. Ultimately, they need to fly alone.
Parenting requires big decisions on a daily basis, and sometimes it means deciding to let your child make a mistake and work it out on their own. Be ready to coach your child through challenging times. If your marriage needs to be ended, take care to keep being a parent, even if you’re no longer a spouse.