Sunday, June 16, 2024

Crazy Cool Family: Input Inspires Ownership

We all want the best for our kids. Right? We want them to excel in school and in sports or band or music or whatever extracurricular activities they do. We want them to be involved in the church youth group. In short, we want a lot for them.

But here’s a thought: What if we talked to our kids about our goals and standards we want for their lives and gave them some input? What if we listened to them about their ideas about their lives?

Let’s say your child is playing a select sport. Instead of always hounding them about how they should do better and want to improve, what if we sat down with them and asked for their opinion?

I remember when one of my boys was playing baseball, he was frustrated at his playing time. Everything in me wanted to start a lecture about how he needed to work harder to correct some flaws in his game if he wanted to get on the field more.

But instead, I asked him, “Why do you think the coach is not playing you?” He told me the exact same things I was seeing. Then I asked him, “What do you want to do about it?” And he proceeded to tell me some things he wanted to work on to get better.

You see? Now it’s not a lecture from Dad. It’s his idea. And now he is motivated in a way that lecture will never accomplish. Now he owns the direction he wants his life to go.

We can always raise the bar higher — we are the parents — but what if they agree with us or want to go even higher?

Then we get buy-in and ownership!

Now we can work together with our child instead of against them or pulling them along. We can help them meet their goals instead of just imposing ours. Or maybe we find out they are not really into this sport, and we need to move on.

At a minimum, we connect with our kids, and they believe we value their opinion about their lives. This builds trust and strengthens the parent-child relationship.

By involving them in the process and genuinely listening to their perspectives, we demonstrate respect. This approach is more likely to lead to their committed participation rather than resistance or resentment.

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Don & Suzanne Manning
Don & Suzanne Manning
Don & Suzanne Manning of Argyle have 30+ years’ experience parenting 7 kids. Their mission is to inspire and equip you to build your best family. Learn more at

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