Influence or Control
It’s a thin line between control and influence; both having the same intended outcome but towing different paths. To my mind, when I hear control, it paints an image of forcefully getting the intended outcome (though could be subtle), while influence gets the same outcome but in a way that is not obvious, flowing naturally and very potent.
Couples should ensure agreement in talking so that getting the picture and influencing the child likewise becomes fun. The hard work in marriage is what I call the ‘Rigour of Agreement’. But once this is in place, parenting becomes fun, heaven on earth and a journey you don’t ‘wanna’ end.
Once ‘agreement in talking’ is in place between the couple, the next thing to do in getting the picture of the child’s future is to continually talk with God and the child. Talking with the child starts by studying the child to see deep into him or her for the gifts and talents with which the child is to create solutions here on earth. Like every work of art, the picture is not always clear at first, but as you keep talking the picture becomes clearer.
How to Influence your Child
Be in the place of influence with your child. How do you do this? By letting your children be rooted in God, staying with them, praying with them, and always talking with them. Be deliberate about spending time with them daily as much as is convenient for both of you.
Deliberate Parenting is the way to go. You have fewer years than you think to spend with your child. You had better be deliberate about it so you can enjoy a lifetime of influence with that child.
To influence your child, be a transformational parent. A parent that is there with the child as much as possible to explain movies, books, music videos, the essence of building character before wardrobe as seen on page 3 in the book ‘Sound Character: Maxim for a Successful Future’ with love from my humble self.
Be deliberate in being a transformational parent. For instance, when you stop at traffic lights at places where no police or cameras are watching, just know that your children are watching if they are in the vehicle with you. The more you do things consistent with sound character, the more your influence grows with your children; otherwise, your influence flies out the window. When you do not imbibe sound character, you lose your voice in talking with them.
Benefits of Influence over Control
The joy of parenting is watching your children transform into the image God has for them in a way that is so seamless and impactful. Parenting is not tryingto make the child be like the parent but making the child be who the child should be. This is the greatest benefit of influence over control.
Influence gives you a voice with your children, while control gives you a shout. When you’ve failed at influencing your children, you will find yourself shouting at them. If this continues, be sure you’re going to lose them.
Go Influence your Child Positively
You can begin to picture your parenting in light of the above and make the necessary decisions. Go be a parent with influence and not one that seeks to control your children. The difference between influence and control is a thin line, but the impact is a wide gap between the picture God has for the child’s future and what he or she eventually becomes. It’s in our hands, parents. Be a great mentor to your child.
Parents, remember, that you set the first stage for your child. You are the first audience; be deliberate with the few years that child will spend under your roof.
Be a parent with influence!
Author & Sound Character Coach
Every parent has a picture in mind for each child. When that picture is in sync with what God has in mind, parenting becomes a pleasant adventure of painting this picture with the child and that sparks a fire in the child to want to live out that picture. This sums up the job descriptionof the title “Parenting”. This journey, therefore, creates the excitement, as well as the highs and lows in parenting. To know if you’re getting parenting right, the question to ask is:“Am I inspiring my child to live the right picture?”
This picture of the child’s future is the solution(s) the child will bring to the challenges of humanity, the values to add to life, the societal problems to solve, making the world a better place and contributing positively to the globe. When this is rightly dimensioned, the child’s formal and informal education is channeled in that direction.
Quite many people are not practicing today what they studied in school, not so much because they do not want to, but largely because there was no process of working with them early on to discover the picture. While some got into it out of rebellion to the control they have been under from their parents. How much better and impactful life would be if everyone had parents who are this deliberate?
Getting the Right Picture
This is about training up your child in the right direction. The starting point I believe is to connect with God to know what to work for, towards the child’s future. A child’s future should not be about what the parents want. The things to look out for are encoded in the child’s dispositions, talents, likes, dislikes, anger and excitements, etc.
You get the picture of your child’s future by talking. Talking? Like seriously? Yes, talking! You start by talking with God to show you the picture, you and your spouse talking with each other about the picture you are seeing, then talking with the child about the picture he or she is seeing. One of the powerful tools of parenting is talking; which is far more potent than shouting.
Parenting is a ‘collabo’, and that is why it is good to have both parents present as much as possible to do the talking together. Talking amongst couples is a big deal.
Whether parenting turns out to be about influence or control is dependent on how the ‘talking’ is between the husband and wife. When the talking is cordial, warm, non-abusive, not insulting (even through jokes), and not shouting, then the two can speak as one to the child. When this is absent, the impact on the child may result in control rather than influence. However, if talking flows with warmth between the two, the overall effect is powerful in moving the child in the direction of the picture for his or her future.
Author & Sound Character Coach