Recently I attended an online course on inclusive leadership wherein the concept of EACH was discussed. EACH* stands for Empowerment, Accountability, Courage and Humility. While we usually think of inclusive leadership in terms of corporate leaders and managers, this course got me thinking on how to include this concept of EACH in parenting.
Being the parent of a 16 year old is a challenge akin to an organization that is going through dramatic changes; where communication channels are blocked and at times, missing; where every employee has his/her own agenda which, in most cases, is not in sync with the company’s goal; basically, all factors that create an unstable environment. An organization experiencing such times has the opportunity of bringing about highly effective positive changes by applying the principles of Inclusive Leadership. So, I thought, “how can I apply EACH in my parenting style to build a happy and participative family?” Here are my views:
Empowerment will help to develop self-confidence and independent thinking in children. A 16 year old is almost an adult; bursting with a need to exert his/ her views and independence, yet needing strong anchor. If he/ she were in USA or Canada, they would have got a learner license by now! Besides, in a couple of years they would be leaving the nest and will have to fend for themselves.
So, I decided to empower my 16 year old by allowing him to take decisions on his study method, planning his exercise routine, deciding which events he wants to participate in and inviting opinions on home affairs especially those involving technology. Giving a monthly stipend is also on the agenda as it will help him to learn money management skills.
A - Accountability:
“With power comes responsibility”. I love this line from the movie Spiderman. While on one hand Empowerment will give power to the child, Accountability will help to instill responsibility. How do I intend to do this?
So, while my son can decide his study method, exercise routine etc., at the same time I will lay down certain minimum standards which have to be met; be it academic goals, money management or the nutritional content in his food. How he meets them is his Empowerment. The fact that he definitely needs to meet them will drive his sense of Accountability.
C - Courage:
This will help to instill the value of being brave and honest.
This is a difficult one for most parents. So often we take out our stress/ frustration of some other situation on our kids. There are also occasions when we respond to arguments in typical stereotypical ways, “ wait till you are a parent”, “I never dared to speak to my parents in this manner”…We realize our mistake almost instantly but acknowledging the mistake to our kids is not easy. Doing so will make our kids realize that everyone makes mistakes, making mistakes is not the end of the world and most importantly, it takes courage to apologize for one’s mistakes. I am going to strive hard to be Courageous.
H - Humility:
This will teach children to be humble and nurture relationships.
The courage of admitting our mistakes to our children requires humility. By observing our behaviour, our teenaged kids learn an important lesson of emotional intelligence; that of being sensitive to others and paving way to clear misunderstandings/ difficulties in the relationship through honest dialogue including apologizing where the situation warranties it. It also teaches them to avoid ego traps.
I am planning to implement EACH with my 16 year old. Would love to hear your views. Meanwhile, happy teen parenting.
*Source - Online course on Inclusive Leadership by Catalyst.org