Tip First

It’s a parent’s job to prepare her kids to take full control of the reins one day. “Tipping first” is one way to ease into the transition.

I Promise To . . .

As parents, one of our promises is to make sure that our kids can advocate for themselves and to stand tall when necessary.  Learning how to advocate takes practice, and the earlier our kids start practicing, the better.

The Catch

For practice to make perfect, practice has to be meaningful.  It feels mighty risky for parents, but this means that you’ll need to invite your kids’ input on important issues.

King of the castle

Our relationships start out great:  parents rule and kids follow.  All is well until kids start asking questions, rebel, and learn to manipulate.  In response, parents turn to bribes and punishments to fortify the iron fist.  So even when you’re truly inviting your child’s input, the old habits and routines can get in the way.

Hidden Meaning

Incentives (bribes) or consequences (punishment) register control metaphorically and squelch your message of invited engagement and the offer genuine ownership.

One way to short circuit underlying messages is to assume the best and “tip first.”  Think of it as handing a waiter $25 the moment you sit down for dinner in a restaurant.  You’d be signaling your confidence in his abilities to manage the timing of your meal, multi-task other tables, and to schmooze.  Without saying a word, you have instantly communicated your faith in him.

Tipping first with your child works much the same except the “tip” is your willingness to turn over the final decision about something before sharing your opinion.

An Example

Studying for a math test

It’s better to gradually hand over the reins than to wait until she’s moving into her college dorm.   If one of your promises is to make sure your daughter can make good decisions, than your ultimate outcome is that she can and will choose to study without your intervention.  Therefore, she’ll need to practice making choices like this to get good at making choices like this.

Start easy

Easy:  Where would you like to study?

Harder: When are you planning to study?

Yikes! Are you planning to study?

Conflict to Collaboration

Tipping first says that you recognize your child’s power and that you believe in her.  Watch how fast collaboration takes on greater maturity and cooperativeness.  It’s no secret:  having a hand in the creation of something makes an owner out of you, but only if all the messages, even the underlying messages, are in alignment.

What if?

Guess what, she will choose not to study once or twice—regardless her age.  That’s why starting earlier is best—better to fail a few tests in 6th grade than in college.

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Boy choose play or study

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Author: Lorraine Esposito

Lorraine Esposito Lorraine@Peacemaker-Coach.com 914-410-7502 Lorraine Esposito is a certified professional life coach, mentor coach, owner of The Center for Coaching Mastery at Westchester Community College in New York, and nationally recognized author of The Peacemaker Parent, Solving Problems for Today, Teaching Independence for a Lifetime, Lorraine is the featured life coach for a popular New York radio station, WFAS 103.9 FM and is in collaboration with and featured blogger for the National Football League and USA Football adding a ‘coach approach’ to coaching youth sports. Lorraine’s client base includes CEO’s in the entertainment industry, White House and Capitol Hill public affairs staff, entrepreneurs, global TED speakers, award winning writers, new coaches just starting out, successful business women between 40 and 55 looking for more out of life, and parents needing a little help making good on their parenting promises. Lorraine’s career matches the diversity in her coaching practices. Starting out in the rural mid-west, Lorraine has owned four small businesses; the first, an automobile repair center, started at age 16. Her corporate experience is mainly in negotiating multimillion dollar contracts as the buyer of domestic in-flight food and beverages for Trans World Airlines and then as a procurement manager for the New York City Transit Authority. Lorraine’s strength has always been creatively finding solutions to even the most complicated goal. In addition, Lorraine’s 30 years as a professional fitness coach continues to add depth to all her endeavors. She has been featured in various print, broadcast, and on-line media and is a public speaker regarding personal leadership to community and school-based audiences. Lorraine lives in New York with her husband and two teenage sons.

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