As kids' #1 teacher – parents know the drill. We must teach, instill and then hope our kids will be blown away by our power of influence. But it's not the A-bomb moments that shape the power of our parenting — it's the itty-bitty moments that we create every day. Here are 10 ways to become a powerful parent — without the steroid punch.
Spend time daily
One of the best ways to become a powerful influence in your child's life is to spend time daily with them. This can be hard with multiple children — but it's worth it, and your children will look forward to it. Spending one-on-one time daily teaches your child that she is important. It gives you insight into your child's day-to-day life. You set the time — and she decides (within your parameters) what she would like you to do.
Watch TV together
Watching TV with your children gives you an opportunity to see the influences in their lives firsthand. It gives you an opportunity to voice your concerns, disagree with TV characters or even plan a family discussion about things that concern you. Watching TV with your kids also gives you time to snuggle (if you've got a snuggler) and gives your kids the touch that is important for their growth.
Show your weaknesses
This may feel counterintuitive to some, but showing your weaknesses to your kids will actually make them admire you more. It will help them feel OK about their weaknesses. And if you can give a sincere, "I'm sorry" and "Will you forgive me?" to your child – you will garner more love and respect than you can imagine.
Support their interests
Maybe you're not big into hip-hop dancing. Or rubber-band jewelry. But the support that you show your children by investing time, money and a listening ear will help them feel loved and supported.
Exercise is a great bonding tool. Exercise helps us feel good on a hormonal level – and if we add the component of being with people we love, it can make for a positive experience. Plan for walks, hikes, swims or any other activity that will get you moving with people you love.
Be calm (aka: practice the calm response)
Kids will be more likely to share their worries and problems with you if they can trust that you will be calm. Practice listening without talking. Practice answering with empathy-producing comments like, "Wow. That sounds hard." Calmness begets trust, which will help create a powerful bond between you and your kids.
Whether you memorize scripture, your family motto, or a passage from Harry Potter – it doesn't matter. What matters is you spend the time working together to have powerful words that you can recollect at any time. Consider memorizing words that can be a call to courage and authenticity that you can remind one another of when life gets hard.
Being a powerful parent also involves the investment in staying on top of technology and the "predators" that lurk. Learn about social media (especially Twitter and Instagram), sexting and pornography. Plan together to talk about hot topics as a family and help your kids come up with game plans by role-playing true-to-life experiences.
Sometimes we feel guilty about self-care. We think taking a bubble bath or giving ourselves alone time is an indulgence. But practicing self-care will show your kids how they can behave when they are parents. It teaches children that everyone has needs that are important. And will make for a happier parent-child relationship.
A kind and firm no is one of the best practices for our children. Say "no" to underage drinking. Say "no" to parties at friends' houses when you don't know the parents. Say "no" to anything that doesn't feel right, even if you don't know why. Your job as a parent includes preparing them, loving them — and also protecting them.
And when all is said and done — tuck your kids into bed at night, look into the eyes of each one as you tell them you love them. Because your power-of-influence as a parent explodes as your kids are both shown and told how much they mean to you.