The Irrestibly Attractive Parent
By Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.
Attention parents! Marketing your goods, services and knowledge by selling them to your children, doesn't work anymore. In the `90's, we often didn't know the benefits or features of our parenting which would maximally benefit our children. Today, primarily due to what is called "social media" most children know more about how to thrive in the computer age than do their parents. What parents have to offer is often perceived as irrelevant, unnecessary or unattractive. Watching television, playing computer games, and learning via the internet seem to be more appealing than relating to parents.
Certainly, children are still dependent on parents for provision of the basics: food, water, shelter, protection and security. But beyond these, traditional parenting skills seem outdated, if not obsolete. Dependency on parents however, seems to be more quickly outgrown.
What can parents do to become irresistibly attractive to their offspring? Parents can become attractive to their children in precisely the same way managers can be appealing to the people they manage. Attractive managers in the workplace, attractive marketers to a customer base, and attractive executives to an entire organization, all have qualities parents would do well to learn in order to maximize their appeal to those in the family who are supervisees, consumers, and participating members of the family organization...their children.
Attention organizational leaders! Treating your employees, managers, and workers in the traditional manner through threat, incentives, offering security or dictatorial demands simply doesn't work anymore. Employees today expect to be taken into account. They want to be a part of an organization not unlike a community. They want to be treated with respect and feel they are contributing something of value to the benefit of the organization, and are well compensated for it.
Here are some irresistible attraction tips for both parents and organizational leaders, which might improve family/organizational functioning.
Create a lifestyle for yourself that is psychologically and physically healthy. This includes enough rest, regular exercise, a nutritious diet, continued learning and self-development (perhaps in the area of smart phones and social media). When you are enjoying your lifestyle, others will find it very attractive.
Allow yourself and others to make and own mistakes, so you can learn from them. If you are accepting and curious about mistakes, you maximize their benefit. Of course, mistakes too large and destructive to the family/organization need to be prevented.
Create a work plan...then work the plan. Implementing plans is the antidote to chaos. Plans which include fun are very attractive to others. Most people want to join in and participate in the implementation of fun plans.
Become open-minded and flexible to new ideas and changes in routine. Receptivity and flexibility are the foundation necessary for innovation to occur. Novelty is a human need, when fulfilled, leads to creativity.
Ask others who relate to you, to describe what kind of relationship they would want to create with you. It takes at least two to form a high-quality relationship. Think about the nature of the relationship you want to have with each of your children/co-workers.
Nurture and demonstrate respect for the achievements of family/organization members. Celebrate the small accomplishments as well as the large ones.
Listen 80 percent more often than you speak. Showing others by your example, speaks much louder than words. Being attractive has powerful impact on others.
Trust yourself and everyone else in your family/organization to make beneficial decisions and follow through on those decisions. Honor and respect each member as a valuable part of the entire family/organization.
Develop a sense of gentle humor. Enjoy laughter. Lighten up.
Don't take everything so seriously. Humor allows us to let go of emotional attachment and lowers stress.
Practice the art of teaching others what you hold valuable. Freely give them the gift of your knowledge, your awareness, your compassion and your love.
Develop the above qualities in yourself, and you become irresistibly attractive as a parent, leader, manager and family/organization executive. Have fun!
Dr. Thomas is a licensed psychologist, author, speaker, and life coach. He serves on the faculty of the International University of Professional Studies. He recently co-authored (with Patrick Williams) the book: "Total Life Coaching: 50+ Life Lessons, Skills and Techniques for Enhancing Your Practice...and Your Life!" (W.W. Norton 2005) It is available at your local bookstore or on Amazon.com.