Ryder, my two year old, is quite the handful. He loves to be in the middle of it all, helping and directing everyone! Yes, he’s a tad bossy, full of life and ambition, and knows what he wants. He can be domineering, for sure. I am definitely already seeing a little Command Man emerge.
When raising a son or daughter who has a gift for leadership, it is so much fun to guide their commanding personality. My first daughter and now my youngest son are so much alike in their need to control. It is amusing; even with their age difference (13 years), Ryder sees Janelle Grace as the one he needs to rule. I have to remember not to dictate or dominate them.
So let’s talk tips for raising these strong, confident, and—at times—trying children.
Pray that you will have wisdom and patience—especially patience. You want to direct the explosion, not disarm it.
Don’t scold their leadership tendencies; incorporate them into the daily routine and seek special situations where they can be the overseer of animals, young children, household repairs, etc. Understand their need to lead, while taking into account that they don’t know how. Ask their opinion and discuss the wisdom of their ideas.
Understand their need to lead, while taking into account that they don’t know how.
My daughter is a nanny. When she first started working for this young family she had a battle for leadership with their oldest. I encouraged her to create a plan for the day as soon as she got there. So instead of her being bossy and butting heads with him on every part of the day’s activities, she would sit down with all the kids and create a plan for the day so he would know what was expected. After all, the plan was of his own making. He felt in charge right from the start. Often kids with command personalities are not stubborn or cantankerous; they just hate a vacuum and inefficiency. Helping to formulate the plan of the day satisfied his need to command, and he became the most efficient worker.
This is so easy—PRAISE them! Let them work with you and be a part of the team. When I was working at the Russian orphanage as a 19-year-old girl, I was in charge of a young man who had been so crushed and talked down to by the leader before me that he had become bitter and angry. He had no self-respect. I started off by just praising him a LOT for all the little things he did right. I gave him opportunities to lead and advise. This created trust and respect and brought healing. Working together, planning together, and doing life together are key to happy leadership.
Two-year-old Ryder has no idea how to lead with wisdom, but I can give him opportunities to be THE MAN. I let him carry in the wood or jugs of milk and then brag on him. He loves to fetch the broom, and I make sure the other children don’t take that away from him. Yes, they fight over who gets to help Mom. They know helping me comes with lots of praise so they compete for it. I brag on him to Dad, saying what a big boy he is. I let him lead me around the yard, showing me their progress in dirt, rock, and shrub removal, or rearrangement of a wood pile. I follow and brag on his leading me so well. Each word, each praise, builds him into the man and leader he will be later in life.
You have an opportunity right now as a mother or father to teach your children in a way that speaks life into them. Teach them to have a learning mindset. This world needs good leaders who stand up for our rights and our families, and for GOD. Moms, we are raising MEN and WOMEN for GOD. Let’s not be slack!
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