Parenting is tough. There aren't any annual reviews, like you can get from your boss at work. Your kids can't sit you down and talk to you about how you're doing. So sometimes it’s easy to feel a little lost. I’ve found that it's best to look to outside sources for help, and the best sources are parents of good kids.
I've met some people through my years in the business who are exceptional. Whenever I find someone like that, I'm sure to meet their parents; I know there's something that they can teach me about parenting my own children.
A great example of that is Chad Pennington. As soon as I met him and realized the type of stand-up guy he is, I had to track down his father, Elwood, and pick his brain about raising kids. He gave me one of the best pieces of advice that I’ve gotten about parenting.
I told Elwood about a recent disagreement I’d had with my daughter. She wanted to ride her bike with a friend across a busy street that dissected our town. I knew the streets on the other side of that busy section were not as safe as our neighborhood, so I told her no. I thought this was completely reasonable. Elwood, though, thought differently. He explained to me that what my daughter heard when I told her “no” wasn’t that I had her safety in mind. She heard me saying that I don’t trust her or her ability to make decisions on her own.
Elwood suggested that I should have asked her what she thought. He said I should have approached my daughter and asked her if she thought that, at her age, it was a good idea to cross that street on her bike with her friend with no supervision. That way, she feels as though her judgment is being trusted and her opinions are being heard.
Ever since, I’ve employed this strategy in my parenting. And it caused my kids to think for themselves at an early age, which is so important. So, consider this: do you give your kid the opportunity to fail and make the right choices for themselves, and learn from their own mistakes?
Do you give your kids room? Do you allow them the space to make some tough decisions even when they’re younger? If so, it will be a lot easier for them to use good judgment when they grow up. Starts by asking them their opinion and allowing them to be a factor in decisions.