Here's How to Parent Like an Effective and Thoughtful Boss

by Angela Pruess October 24, 2016

Young pregnant woman is working on laptop 

Chances are we’ve all worked at a job at one point or another where we’ve had that boss.

The boss who makes going to work that much more painful because of the negative ways they manage their employees. This boss did little to inspire productivity or respect among employees due to negative and misguided approaches of management. Would you be surprised to hear there’s a good chance that many parents are making the same mistakes our brutal boss did, when it comes to the mismanagement of our kids? Luckily, many of us have also experienced the other side of the coin as well, a kickass boss or leader who inspired us to do our best work, motivating us to become better employees in the process. It seems fitting that parents can take advantage of the same strategies utilized by successful bosses. These strategies are sure to inspire cooperation and success in any household (well, some at least).

1 | Don’t be a micromanager.

Everyone knows that a good boss gives employees space to bring their own unique approaches and talents to the table. As parents, we also need to be aware that the ways our kids do things might look different than the way we’d approach it. Yes, in our opinion we can do it faster and better, however, our child is their own person and has a unique way of going about life. Let them see the world differently and approach things in their own unique way. This develops confidence and helps them to identify and build on their personal strengths.

2 | Provide plenty of positive feedback.

Think about the last time you received an authentic and thoughtful compliment from your employer. It was pretty motivating, right? When parents harness the power of positive re-enforcement, it makes our kids want to do better and be better. The best praise is well-timed, authentic, and specific to something they did.

3 | Treat them with respect.

Take a moment to think about prior jobs you’ve held. Remember that jerk boss who belittled employees and talked to everyone else as though they were beneath him or her? I’m guessing you didn’t feel very driven to accept feedback and follow through with their expectations, but instead you most likely developed feelings of resentment, resulting in the opposite effect. Your children are people too. If you have a vested interest in their cooperation, your communication should be grounded in kindness and respect.

4 | Provide plenty of breaks (i.e. playtime).

We know that employees who take breaks during the workday are more focused, productive and satisfied in their work. If adults benefit from downtime, just think about the down time a child needs to be healthy and productive! Studies have shown time and time again that kids who are allowed more physical movement and unstructured playtime perform better at school and are happier and healthier children.

5 | Be a great communicator.

A primary skill of any successful boss is effective communication. How can an employee be expected to perform satisfactorily, if they have not had clear expectations laid out for them? Kids’ brains are working hard all the time to learn about the world. The younger they are, the more reminders (in the form of loving guidance and visuals) children will need in order to teach family rules and expectations.

6 | Hold regular meetings.

Meetings in the workplace create feelings of cohesion and give everyone a chance to voice their opinion. Research has repeatedly shown when families engage in regular ‘meetings’ a number of valuable skills and outcomes are achieved, including an increased self-esteem, increased concept of how their actions affect others, and enhanced compromising skills. In the end, it would seem as though managing employees and managing children isn’t really all that different (aside from the occasionally disheartening fact that you can’t actually fire your children and the whole lack-of-excrement-cleanup-in-the-workplace thing). Overall, simply treat others the way you’d want to be treated with respect and positivity. If you can remember these simple tips, you’ll be parenting like a boss in no time.
If you’re a parent whose goal is to raise an awesome, emotionally healthy adult you can get a free guide 'Become a More Confident Parent in Five Minutes - The 5 Best Things a Parent Could Ever Do For Their Child' and find your tribe at

Angela Pruess


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