Having raised two lovely daughters to adulthood, worked side by side with my family for over seventeen years and my husband and parents for another five, I have discovered there are a lot of similarities between being an effective parent and a productive business person.
They both require dealing with all kinds of challenges and behaviors that sometimes make us want to just go live on an island. By ourselves. Forever.
But we don’t.
All of us carry on, ever hopeful, ever learning new techniques to be a better parent, business owner, boss or employee.
As parents, we
confidently sailed flailed our way through the thicket of challenges our young daughters created. We did our best to lead by example and to teach, calmly and confidently. There were times we felt so accomplished, as though we had nailed the perfectly wonderful parental response, or even better, had headed off a potential tantrum.
Then there were all the other times.
The I’m-embarrassed-to-admit-to-it times, when we hollered, punished, took away, cajoled, bribed, and were petty, all in the name of keeping the peace, or teaching the girls to be responsible.
Oh, yeah, that was a winning plan.
I’m just grateful there weren’t cell phones with video capability hooked directly to Facebook.
My dear hubbie and I both knew what we were doing was not working.
We discovered the book Positive Discipline and the beauty of natural consequences and instituted the author’s suggestions right away.
Which our children began to test. Immediately. With a vengeance.
We steeled our resolve with this thought: If we give in, they’ll know we aren’t serious and we will be in the same boat we’ve been in. We may “win” a temporary peace now, but we will pay later.
If we stick to our guns, firmly and fairly, we will face the hurricane force of their anger now, but we will have increased calm later.
We chose to say “no” to those behaviors, so our girls would learn to say “yes” to behaviors that would move them towards goals that they really wanted.
My daughter picks up the thread of the story here with her post “What are you saying yes to?”, a piece she wrote about the opportunity cost of saying yes vs. no, and her sharp memory of a positive discipline, positively defining moment.
Whenever we make a choice, we’re really making two: we say yes to one thing and no to another.
In economics, this is known as the opportunity cost – the value of whatever is behind door #2 when you choose door #1.
We say yes or no to a million different things, every day, and we have for our entire lives.
That’s a lesson I learned early on.
When I was four or five years old, my sister and I went to daycare while my parents were at work. Like many other parents, mine faced constant battles with us about getting up and getting ready to go.
“Alexis, it’s time to get up.”
“NoooOOOoooOOOoooo I’m tiiiiiiiiiiiired.”
“Alexis, it’s time to get dressed.”
“NooOoooOOooo I don’t waaaaannaaaaaa.”
Around this same time, my Mom read a book called Positive Discipline. This book proposed a revolutionary idea: as long as the consequences of your child’s actions don’t result in anything truly bad happening (mayhem, injury, death, that sort of thing), let them make that choice.
Like all kids will do, I tested the boundaries. I was SURE that my parents would fold like a house of cards in a hurricane.
One morning before daycare, I pushed the limits a little too far.
Quick! Click this link to find out how Alexis’ testing of the newly drawn boundaries worked out…
This post is linked to No Ordinary Blog Hop