Discover the Leader
in Your Child
Lisa J. Davis
child has a purpose in life. As a parent and
a teacher, I am continually learning how to
tap into the hidden leadership abilities in
each child's personality. What may seem to be
undesirable behavior can sometimes be developed
into an area of strength. It takes structure,
discipline, and guidance to help children reach
their maximum potential.
a son or daughter is exciting, yet challenging.
A child learns and develops through many stages.
During the infant stage, the child has emotional
and educational needs that parents can easily
once a child grows into the toddler stage, parenting
requires more creativity. A child begins to
explore his world, surfacing in the form of
phrases such as, "No", "Mine,"
and "I can do it myself." Following
this stage and moving through the grade school
phase and on into high school, a child is continuously
"feeling his turf" with his words,
actions, and choices.
process is a normal part of development. At
any given stage in this process a parent can
easily mistake some of the child's behavior
as negative traits. Following are six L. E.
A. D. E. R. principles to discover the leader
in your child:
Lead by example
As you have learned from your mistakes and made
changes in your life, your child can learn to
do the same. I learned to react in anger when
I did not get my way by watching my father's
lack of anger management in my earlier years.
However, I also learned to apologize and make
amends in relationships as a result of watching
my father make changes in his life. My temper
indicated a depth of passion that could be channeled
constructively, once it was harnessed by concern
for other's needs and feelings.
Explain your response
The question asked most frequently by children
is, "Why?" Every good leader knows,
"Because I said so," is not an effective
answer. When a child is told to behave in a
specific manner without having any understanding
of why, it's hard to maintain that behavior
when the parent is not around.
lack the maturity of sound logic. When I enforce
the rule of walking quietly in the hall, I always
make the statement, "We have to walk quietly
in the hall so that we are respectful of the
learning that is going on."
Apply your love to the back and the bottom
In a relationship, a person needs to know he
is loved before he can receive criticism. I
had a boss that always told me what I was doing
wrong. In three years, she made only one comment
about something I had done right. She tried
to discipline me without developing a relationship
with me. This hindered me from becoming a better
teacher during the time I worked for her.
are the same way. Children can take a 'pat on
the bottom,' if they continually receive a 'pat
on the back.'
Deal with each incident separately
Life is easier to handle one day at a time.
Consequently, dealing with a child's misbehavior
is also easier to handle one day at a time.
The words "never" and "always"
are seldom used in a positive manner.
have a student who needs a lot of 'mercy' from
me. If I concentrated on how often I needed
to handle situations that arose from his choices,
I would have a difficult relationship with him.
Last school year, he frequented the principal's
office at least once a week. This year, he has
only been to the office once. I believe it is
due to the relationship I developed with him
and the fact that I give him a fresh start each
Evaluate the situation
Children sometimes respond negatively because
they are being forced to deal with adult problems.
Is the child hitting at school because he does
not want to share the toy, or does he miss his
father who has left the home?
issues occurring in the home are difficult and
complicated for youth to handle. A child's behavior
may be the result of some change in her life,
such as a new baby sister, a move into a different
neighborhood, or a recent divorce. Although
a parent should not excuse the behavior, attention
should be given to the reason behind the behavior.
Apologize to your child
willing to say "I'm sorry" when you
are wrong. Children appreciate genuine apologies
as much as adults. There have been times when
I have yelled at my daughter for something minor,
because I was feeling tired, sick, or stressed.
At those times, I have to be responsible and
apologize. I pull her onto my lap and say, "Mommy
is sorry. I made a mistake. Please forgive me.
I love you."
By using these L. E. A. D. E. R. principles,
you will be well on your way to discovering
the leader in your child. By implementing structure,
discipline, and guidance you can help your child
develop into the person she was meant to be.
Davis serves as a Youth Leader at
Calvary Church in St. Louis, Missouri. Her professional
experience includes speaking, Bible instruction,
and teaching in both public and private school
settings. Lisa has a B.S. in education from
the University of Missouri-Columbia and a Certificate
of Completion in the Extraordinary Woman program
from the American Association of Christian Counselors.
She resides in St. Louis, Missouri with her
husband Michael and daughter Elisha.