What if the Secret to Success is Failure?

by Paul Tough, NY Times Magazine, September 14, 2011

 

Dominic Randolph can seem a little out of place at Riverdale Country School — which is odd, because he’s the headmaster. Riverdale is one of New York City’s most prestigious private schools, with a 104-year-old campus that looks down grandly on Van Cortlandt Park from the top of a steep hill in the richest part of the Bronx. On the discussion boards of UrbanBaby.com, worked-up moms from the Upper East Side argue over whether Riverdale sends enough seniors to Harvard, Yale and Princeton to be considered truly “TT” (top-tier, in UrbanBabyese), or whether it is more accurately labeled “2T” (second-tier), but it is, certainly, part of the city’s private-school elite, a place members of the establishment send their kids to learn to be members of the establishment. Tuition starts at $38,500 a year, and that’s for prekindergarten.

Randolph, by contrast, comes across as an iconoclast, a disrupter, even a bit of an eccentric. He dresses for work every day in a black suit with a narrow tie, and the outfit, plus his cool demeanor and sweep of graying hair, makes you wonder, when you first meet him, if he might have played sax in a ska band in the ’80s. (The English accent helps.) He is a big thinker, always chasing new ideas, and a conversation with him can feel like a one-man TED conference, dotted with references to the latest work by behavioral psychologists and management gurus and design theorists. When he became headmaster in 2007, he swapped offices with his secretary, giving her the reclusive inner sanctum where previous headmasters sat and remodeling the small outer reception area into his own open-concept work space, its walls covered with whiteboard paint on which he sketches ideas and slogans. One day when I visited, one wall was bare except for a white sheet of paper. On it was printed a single black question mark.

For the headmaster of an intensely competitive school, Randolph, who is 49, is surprisingly skeptical about many of the basic elements of a contemporary high-stakes American education. He did away with Advanced Placement classes in the high school soon after he arrived at Riverdale; he encourages his teachers to limit the homework they assign; and he says that the standardized tests that Riverdale and other private schools require for admission to kindergarten and to middle school are “a patently unfair system” because they evaluate students almost entirely by I.Q. “This push on tests,” he told me, “is missing out on some serious parts of what it means to be a successful human.”

The most critical missing piece, Randolph explained as we sat in his office last fall, is character — those essential traits of mind and habit that were drilled into him at boarding school in England and that also have deep roots in American history. “Whether it’s the pioneer in the Conestoga wagon or someone coming here in the 1920s from southern Italy, there was this idea in America that if you worked hard and you showed real grit, that you could be successful,” he said. “Strangely, we’ve now forgotten that. People who have an easy time of things, who get 800s on their SAT’s, I worry that those people get feedback that everything they’re doing is great. And I think as a result, we are actually setting them up for long-term failure. When that person suddenly has to face up to a difficult moment, then I think they’re screwed, to be honest. I don’t think they’ve grown the capacities to be able to handle that.”

Randolph has been pondering throughout his 23-year career as an educator the question of whether and how schools should impart good character. It has often felt like a lonely quest, but it has led him in some interesting directions. In the winter of 2005, Randolph read “Learned Optimism,” a book by Martin Seligman, a psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania who helped establish the Positive Psychology movement. Randolph found the book intriguing, and he arranged a meeting with the author. As it happened, on the morning that Randolph made the trip to Philadelphia, Seligman had scheduled a separate meeting with David Levin, the co-founder of the KIPP network of charter schools and the superintendent of the KIPP schools in New York City. Seligman decided he might as well combine the two meetings, and he invited Christopher Peterson, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan, who was also visiting Penn that day, to join him and Randolph and Levin in his office for a freewheeling discussion of psychology and schooling.

Levin had also spent many years trying to figure out how to provide lessons in character to his students, who were almost all black or Latino and from low-income families. At the first KIPP school, in Houston, he and his co-founder, Michael Feinberg, filled the walls with slogans like “Work Hard” and “Be Nice” and “There Are No Shortcuts,” and they developed a system of rewards and demerits designed to train their students not only in fractions and algebra but also in perseverance and empathy. Like Randolph, Levin went to Seligman’s office expecting to talk about optimism. But Seligman surprised them both by pulling out a new and very different book, which he and Peterson had just finished: “Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification,” a scholarly, 800-page tome that weighed in at three and a half pounds. It was intended, according to the authors, as a “manual of the sanities,” an attempt to inaugurate what they described as a “science of good character.”

It was, in other words, exactly what Randolph and Levin had been looking for, separately, even if neither of them had quite known it. Seligman and Peterson consulted works from Aristotle to Confucius, from the Upanishads to the Torah, from the Boy Scout Handbook to profiles of Pokémon characters, and they settled on 24 character strengths common to all cultures and eras. The list included some we think of as traditional noble traits, like bravery, citizenship, fairness, wisdom and integrity; others that veer into the emotional realm, like love, humor, zest and appreciation of beauty; and still others that are more concerned with day-to-day human interactions: social intelligence (the ability to recognize interpersonal dynamics and adapt quickly to different social situations), kindness, self-regulation, gratitude. (read entire article)

Fast-Paced Cartoons Could Slow Children’s Problem Solving and Executive Function

By Paul Nyhan, Birth to Thrive Online

It’s not just about curbing the amount of time young children spend in front of the TV that matters … but monitoring what they watch. In fact, when it comes to children’s television programs, it turns out some shows may slow the executive functions of preschoolers, researchers reported today.

A new study found that when a group of four-year-old kids watched “SpongeBob SquarePants,” a famous fast-paced cartoon on Nickelodeon designed for older children, for only nine minutes, they did worse on problem solving, self regulation and other tests of executive function than a control group who played with crayons and markers. What’s perhaps even more interesting is that children who watched “Caillou,” a slower-paced show on PBS designed for preschoolers, performed as well as the control group, according to the study published by Pediatrics today.

While researchers could not identify what factors of the cartoons affected executive functions, “they speculate the combination of fantastical events and the fast pacing are responsible. They conclude that parents should be aware that watching similar television shows may immediately impair young children’s executive function,” a summary of the research said.

It was a relatively small study of 60 four-year-olds, but it’s an important step in the effort to understand the impact of rapidly evolving digital media on children.

The research definitely holds lessons for the early learning community, since another study released two years ago found preschool-age children in home-based daycare watched, on average, 2.4 hours of TV a day, compared to those in centers who sat in front of a television 0.4 hours.

With all of this television watching at many child care providers, perhaps TV use should be part of the licensing process, suggests Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a leading researcher on the subject.

“Quite honestly I think it should be a part of licensing,” Dr. Christakis, head of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Hospital, said during an interview.

Research has shown a high-quality early education can make a difference throughout a student’s lifetime, while “a low-quality education also makes a lifetime of difference,” Christakis said.

“…We know that the preschool brain is very much a work in progress,” Christakis added.

Check out Dr. Christakis’s commentary on “The Effects of Fast-Paced Cartoons.”

 

Get Teens’ Sleep Back on Track

By Karen Weintraub
USA Today

Though his junior year hasn’t yet started, Matt Brown, 15, is already back to waking up early enough to get to 6 a.m. football practice. His mother, Megan, sets her alarm for 5:20 a.m., too, so she can make sure he doesn’t sleep through his alarm — again.

It’s a familiar August battle against biology and habit, after a summer of relaxation and late bedtimes.

Getting back into the routine of waking up early is tough for everyone, but particularly for teens, whose bodies are wired for late nights, and who face the social pressures of after-hours texting and social networking.

Megan Brown, a stay-at-home mom in Darien, Conn., says she wondered briefly whether to “stop the fun” a few weeks ago and ease into the earlier wake-up. She opted instead for short-term suffering.

“We are very much the ‘stay up to 2 a.m., sleep ’til noon’ kind of people,” she says.
Tips for helping your kids get a good night’s sleep

Turn off all electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime. The light from electronics, including TVs, computers, phones and other devices, can make it harder to fall asleep. And the beeps from incoming messages can wake kids up or discourage them from heading to bed.

Set a bedtime, even for teens. Kids who know they are expected to get adequate sleep are more responsible about it. Limit after-dinner snacks, and don’t make kids do chores, like finally cleaning their rooms, just before bedtime.

Limit caffeine. Caffeine is OK in the morning, but caffeinated beverages within seven or eight hours of bedtime disrupt sleep quality and make falling asleep harder.

Transition slowly if possible. Getting up a few minutes earlier every few days for two weeks makes the transition from summer to school smoother. If it’s already too late, get on a regular schedule as quickly as possible and stick with it.

Don’t overcompensate. On weekends, one night of catch-up sleep is helpful, but a second night of going to bed and waking up hours later will start to reset the sleep schedule and make Monday morning that much harder.

Napping is OK as long as it’s consistent and not within six to eight hours of bedtime. Taking a two-hour nap after dinner and then trying to do homework will certainly interfere with a decent night’s sleep, and probably with the homework, too.

Research is now clear that sleep is important in myriad ways. Lack of sleep combined with genetic vulnerabilities can lead to heart disease, depression, a weakened immune system and obesity-related diabetes, says Mary Carskadon, a professor of psychiatry at Brown University and director of Chronobiology and Sleep Research at E.P. Bradley Hospital in Providence.

A good night’s sleep is also crucial for learning.

“It helps you to prepare to learn, and also to benefit from what you’ve learned in the day,” Carskadon says. “It’s the glue that keeps that information and sharpens it in your brain.”

But kids, particularly teens, still get too little sleep. With the hormonal changes of adolescence, body clocks shift later. The average teen can’t fall asleep until 11 p.m. or midnight — and when they need to wake up at 6 or 7 a.m., there’s no way they can get sleep they need, Carskadon and others say. While adults need seven to nine hours a night, elementary school kids should be in bed for roughly 10 hours, middle schoolers and high schoolers at least nine, she says.

Younger children generally don’t have as much trouble adjusting; they haven’t shifted as much during the summer, they still have enforceable bedtimes, they’re generally less addicted to social media, and elementary schools often start at 8 or 9, later than many high schools.

Susan Rausch, like many sleep experts, thinks it’s a terrible idea to start school so early in the morning, because it’s so counter to what teens need biologically.

“If we’re teaching to a test, I’m not sure why we’re not teaching to the biology,” says Rausch, medical director of the Sleep Center at Memorial, a lab and sleep clinic in Yakima, Wash.

Not all sleep problems are out of kids’ control, however.

Late-night texting, TV time and computer use also cut down on the quality and quantity of sleep. Rausch and others recommend turning off electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime to decompress, and removing the bright lights that can suppress levels of the hormone melatonin and make it harder to fall asleep.

And that catch-up sleep on weekends can make people sleepier, says Richard Seligman, medical director for Presbyterian Sleep Disorders Center in Albuquerque. The first night of extra sleep can help compensate for too-short nights during the week. But a second or third — as many will be tempted to do over Labor Day weekend — will throw off body clocks and make the next few days miserable, he says.

Matt and his sister Mary, 13, both have pretty good sleep patterns for busy teens. They have TVs in their rooms and they text on their phones, but their mom says they haven’t abused those privileges.

She says she freaked out recently when Matt came home from morning football practice with an energy drink. “That can’t be good for you,” she said. But she told him he could use the drinks until classes started.

And the end of lazy summer mornings isn’t the end of the world, she says.

“They’re psyched to get back to seeing their friends and a regular pattern,” she adds. “Summer’s been really, really fun, but it’s time to go back.”

The Kids Are Not All Right

By JOEL BAKAN
Published: August 21, 2011

Vancouver, British Columbia

Ruth Gwily

 

WHEN I sit with my two teenagers, and they are a million miles away, absorbed by the titillating roil of online social life, the addictive pull of video games and virtual worlds, as they stare endlessly at video clips and digital pictures of themselves and their friends, it feels like something is wrong.

No doubt my parents felt similarly about the things I did as a kid, as did my grandparents about my parents’ childhood activities. But the issues confronting parents today can’t be dismissed as mere generational prejudices. There is reason to believe that childhood itself is now in crisis.

Throughout history, societies have struggled with how to deal with children and childhood. In the United States and elsewhere, a broad-based “child saving” movement emerged in the late 19th century to combat widespread child abuse in mines, mills and factories. By the early 20th century, the “century of the child,” as a prescient book published in 1909 called it, was in full throttle. Most modern states embraced the general idea that government had a duty to protect the health, education and welfare of children. Child labor was outlawed, as were the sale and marketing of tobacco, alcohol and pornography to children. Consumer protection laws were enacted to regulate product safety and advertising aimed at children.

By the middle of the century, childhood was a robustly protected legal category. In 1959, the United Nations issued its Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Children were now legal persons; the “best interests of the child” became a touchstone for legal reform.

But the 20th century also witnessed another momentous shift, one that would ultimately threaten the welfare of children: the rise of the for-profit corporation. Lawyers, policy makers and business lobbied successfully for various rights and entitlements traditionally connected, legally, with personhood. New laws recognized corporations as legal — albeit artificial — “persons,” granting them many of the same legal rights and privileges as human beings. In an eerie parallel with the child-protective efforts, “the best interests of the corporation” was soon introduced as a legal precept.

A clash between these two newly created legal entities — children and corporations — was, perhaps, inevitable. Century-of-the-child reformers sought to resolve conflicts in favor of children. But over the last 30 years there has been a dramatic reversal: corporate interests now prevail. Deregulation, privatization, weak enforcement of existing regulations and legal and political resistance to new regulations have eroded our ability, as a society, to protect children.

Childhood obesity mounts as junk food purveyors bombard children with advertising, even at school. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation study reports that children spend more hours engaging with various electronic media — TV, games, videos and other online entertainments — than they spend in school. Much of what children watch involves violent, sexual imagery, and yet children’s media remain largely unregulated. Attempts to curb excesses — like California’s ban on the sale or rental of violent video games to minors — have been struck down by courts as free speech violations.

Another area of concern: we medicate increasing numbers of children with potentially harmful psychotropic drugs, a trend fueled in part by questionable and under-regulated pharmaceutical industry practices. In the early 2000s, for example, drug companies withheld data suggesting that such drugs were more dangerous and less effective for children and teenagers than parents had been led to believe. The law now requires “black box” warnings on those drugs’ labels, but regulators have done little more to protect children from sometimes unneeded and dangerous drug treatments.

Children today are also exposed to increasing quantities of toxic chemicals. We know that children, because their biological systems are still developing, are uniquely vulnerable to the dangers posed by many common chemical compounds. We also know that corporations often use such chemicals as key ingredients in children’s products, saturating their environments. Yet these chemicals remain in circulation, as current federal laws demand unreasonably high proof of harm before curbing a chemical’s use.

The challenge before us is to reignite the guiding ethos and practices of the century of the child. As Nelson Mandela has said, “there can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” By that measure, our current failure to provide stronger protection of children in the face of corporate-caused harm reveals a sickness in our societal soul. The good news is that we can — and should — work as citizens, through democratic channels and institutions, to bring about change.

Joel Bakan, a law professor at the University of British Columbia, is the author of “Childhood Under Siege: How Big Business Targets Children.”

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on August 22, 2011, on page A19 of the New York edition with the headline: The Kids Are Not All Right.

Kids With ADHD More Likely To Be Hit By Cars: Study

Catherine Pearson

Catherine.Pearson@huffingtonpost.com

Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may be at greater risk for being hit by a car when crossing the street. A new study suggests that because of differences in their ability to perceive risk, children with ADHD may choose to cross the street when it is less safe, even if they follow safety protocol like checking both ways.

“They are looking,” explained Despina Stavrinos, assistant professor at the University of Alabama Birmingham’s Injury Control Center and the study’s lead author. “But they are failing to see. Just like distracted drivers, they are going through the motions, but they are not actually processing the risk.”

To better understand the potential dangers of street crossing, researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham looked at 78 children, 39 of whom had ADHD-C — a subtype that includes both inattention as well as hyperactivity and impulsivity issues — and 39 of whom did not. The children were between 7 and 10, the age at which The American Academy of Pediatrics states it may be okay for children to be unsupervised pedestrians.

In a simulator that mimicked a typical street scene, the children were given 10 different street crossing scenarios. Researchers found that those with ADHD performed as well as non-ADHD participants in terms of looking both ways before crossing. However, when it came time to actually cross, those with ADHD picked smaller gaps in oncoming traffic, had more “close calls” and gave themselves less time to reach the other end of the crosswalk before traffic approached.

“We thought we might see that the kids with ADHD might not look left and right, but they are displaying that appropriate safety behavior,” Stavrinos said. “That points to an underlying mechanism in the executive functioning control center in the brain that affects processing so they can’t necessarily assess the risk.”

In 2009, a Canadian study gave several possibilities for why children with ADHD might have such difficulties, suggesting that they might overestimate their physical abilities when it comes time to weigh risks. That same study also found that children with ADHD might not have actually perceived any consequences for engaging in a risky behavior.

“What this suggests is that our typical programs that say, ‘You must do it this way,’ don’t work,” said Beth Bruce, Ph.D, of Dalhousie University, who wrote the Canadian study. “These studies — and there need to be more — suggest that there is a different way of processing,” she continued, adding that these issues are not necessarily unique to ADHD.

The potential implications of such risk-taking behavior are serious: According to the Centers for Disease Control, unintentional injury is the leading cause of death in children. And a growing body of scientific literature suggests that children with behavioral disorders, including ADHD, are more likely to suffer injury than those without the disorder.

So what can be done?

Parents of children with ADHD should increase supervision, said Dr. Steven Meyers, a professor of psychology at Roosevelt University and a Chicago-based clinical psychologist. He said that “over-practicing” of certain safety behaviors is essential, so that they become second-nature in children.

“It’s not an issue of not knowing what the right behaviors are,” he explained. “The impairment is largely in the area of impulsivity, of disregarding what they know.”

Pediatrician Dr. Alanna Levine added that observed crossing from afar can be a good way for parents to gradually gauge if their child is ready to make the appropriate decision, traffic-wise. She cautioned that the children in the University of Alabama at Birmingham study were not taking medication to treat their disorder at the time, adding that researchers are not yet clear as to what the impact of medication on risk-taking behaviors might be.

In the meantime, Stavrinos said that parents should be aware that differences in the executive functioning control center of the brain may mean their children need a street-crossing program that is unique to them.

“The biggest take-home message is that the things we do to teach about crossing safely may not be enough,” she said.

Shocking Study: Media Use Is 13 Hours A Day For Some Youth

WEDNESDAY, June 8 (HealthDay News) — Black and other minority children in the United States spend far more time than white children watching TV and videos, listening to music, using computers and playing video games, new research shows.

Click here to find out more!Northwestern University researchers analyzed the results of previous media use studies done by the Kaiser Family Foundation and found that minority youth, 8 to 18 years old, consume an average of 13 hours of media content a day, about 4.5 hours more than white youth.

Minority youth spend one to two more hours a day than white youth watching TV and videos, about an hour more listening to music, as much as 90 minutes more on computers and 30 to 40 minutes more playing video games, the researchers found.

Among the specific findings:

  • TV viewing (including TV sets and technologies such as TiVo, DVDs and mobile and online viewing) totaled 5 hours and 54 minutes a day for blacks, 5 hours and 21 minutes for Hispanics, 4 hours and 41 minutes for Asians and 3 hours 36 minutes for whites.
  • The average amount of time spent using cellphones, iPods and other mobile devices to watch TV and videos, play games and listen to music was 3 hours 7 minutes a day for Asians, 2 hours 53 minutes for Hispanics, 2 hours 52 minutes for blacks and 1 hour 20 minutes for whites.
  • The average amount of recreational computer use was 2 hours 53 minutes a day for Asians, 1 hour 49 minutes for Hispanics, 1 hours 24 minutes for blacks and 1 hours 17 minutes for whites.
  • The proportion of youth who use entertainment media “most of the time” while doing homework was 35 percent among blacks and Hispanics, 30 percent among Asians and 28 percent among whites.
  • Youth in all racial/ethnic groups spent 30 to 40 minutes a day reading for pleasure.

“In the past decade, the gap between minority and white youth’s daily media use has doubled for blacks and quadrupled for Hispanics,” the study’s director, Ellen Wartella, who heads Northwestern’s Center on Media and Human Development, said in a university news release. “The big question is what these disparities mean for our children’s health and education.”

The study was scheduled to be presented Wednesday in Washington, D.C., at the Lambert Family Communication Conference on Children, Media and Race. Experts note that research presented at meetings should be considered preliminary because it has not been subjected to the rigorous scrutiny given to research published in peer-reviewed journals.

Love, Understanding and Other Best Practices

The author, Larry Martin Davis, understands the new paradigm of approaching IEP’s and 504 Plans. I have always believed that successful IEP’s demand a collaborative partnership between teachers and parents. Larry agrees and gives teachers and parents suggestions for shifting the focus from what is broken to focusing on the child’s strengths. He uses the problem solving technique, Appreciative Inquiry, as the foundation for his model of Appreciative Advocacy. Appreciative Advocacy is a strengths-based approach to intervention.

An easy read, I thoroughly recommend Love, Understanding, and Other Best Practices for any parent whose child has either a 504 Plan or an IEP.

Larry is an Educational Advocate who helps parents navigate IEP’s and 504 Plans. Contact Larry at larrydavis@specialeducationadvocacy.org.

Less Facebook, More Guidelines

So now the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued social media guidelines. Today’s headlines are all about ‘Facebook Depression’. Here are two links to articles in USA Today and The Associated Press.

Parents, this is where you come in. Our children need more guidelines not more access. I just read a tweet by a dad who said his 13 year old daughter had 4500 texts last month. On average, that’s 150 texts a day. That’s a lot of time devoted to her telephone.

But this isn’t about taking away their access. It’s about mentoring our kids and helping them use this medium appropriately. How do you do that respectfully with teens? Conversation, conversation and more conversation. First of all remember that our children are digital natives and we are digital immigrants. This technology is second nature to our children. They can run rings around us.

Do you wish you knew more about their social media? Ask your child to show you how to set up a Facebook account or a Twitter page. They can teach you about their world and once you understand their world you can set boundaries.

Family meetings are the perfect forum for presenting your plan for managing their social media diet – be sure to leave plenty of room for negotiation and compromise. If the plan is going to work you have to have their buy in.

And don’t forget – we model for our children. They watch us very carefully. So . . . be more present with your kids . . . and less with your laptop!!

And I strongly suggest you become an expert on teenage brain development – social media activity can lead to increased stress which can affect the emotional centers of the brain. For more information check out The Greater Good Science Center. It’s hard to argue with science.

Having problems setting appropriate social media guidelines for your child? I’d be happy to help – 206-780-0104.

How To Become a Parent/Leader

I have taken some liberties with a recent blog post, How to Become a Leader by Marcia Reynolds. Marcia lists 4 tips for being a leader and as I read it I couldn’t help but think how this advice also applies to parenting. In my mind parents are CEO’s of their own families. Being a parent/leader when they are little is easy. But things shift when kids become ‘tweens’ and many of us struggle with that fine line between being our child’s ‘friend’ and being ‘their parent’.

Here are some tips (thank you, Marcia) for stepping out of the friend role and into your parent leadership position:

Leadership Tip #1: Help your children know they can accomplish more than they thought they could. Stand for what is possible for each of your children. Do not accept low or mediocre performance. Tell your children why you believe in them, what you have noticed they can do well. Your belief in them could be the inspiration to excel.

Leadership Tip #2: Set out clear expectations and consequences. Children need to know what is expected of them or else they feel set up to fail. Your children may complain that the expectations are unreasonable. If you feel they are achievable, tell them why you think this and be clear about the support that is available to help them reach the goals. Do not bend and lower the bar. DO NOT STEP IN AND DO THE WORK YOURSELF. If there are consequences for not achieving specific goals, you must stand by the consequences as well. Your children may grumble but in the end they will see you as a committed parent with clear boundaries and expectations.

Leadership Tip #3: When children come to you for advice, don’t give it to them right away. Discern what they know and fear first, and then discover the answers together. Being “the one who knows” stunts their growth. In Gary Cohen’s book, JUST ASK LEADERSHIP: Why Great Managers Always Ask the Right Questions (McGraw Hill/2009), he shows how CEOs, managers, and supervisors can ask the right questions in the right contexts. This can be true of parents as well. Asking your children the right questions empowers them, opening the door to greater productivity and creativity. When you help children find the answers on their own, they grow before your eyes.

Leadership Tip #4: Forgive. No one said parenting was easy. When you first become a parent, you often have to “pay your dues.” You may struggle with support and have to work through conflicts with your partner or spouse and your children. Hopefully, this stage will pass as you stay true to being a parent instead of a friend. When it does pass, don’t hold any grudges. Forgive your children. Believe in their abilities to excel. Discover their passions and what they want for their own lives. Do your best to help them achieve this.

As a parent/leader, you are an example, whether you are consciously choosing your behavior or not. Be clear about your mission, see the gifts each child brings to the table and then choose to stand strong. Your children will respect you based on how you treat them, but also how you remain true to your word.

 

Adapted from How To Become A Leader by Marcia Reynolds