Self-leadership is not a word you often hear. But it is essential for both children and adults. More commonly known as self-control, when a child has great self-leadership, they are more likely to follow through on the tasks on their plate. They will be able to cope with their thoughts more easily. They will have stronger relationships.
The earlier a child can develop this skill, the more easily they'll reap the rewards. So as adults, how can we guide children in developing self-leadership? Bobbi Kahler, contributing author to the NY Times best-selling book Masters of Success, suggests SOAR self-leadership model.
The SOAR stands for self, outlook, action, and reflection. It serves as a tool to develop greater self-leadership and control. Inspired by this model, here are two ways to help your children develop self-leadership.
Help Them Understand Who They Are
Knowing oneself seems daunting. So start with small questions. Questions like "what is your favorite food?", "what's your favorite TV show?" or "who's your favorite superhero?" are very easy to answer for children. But it's effective in starting the conversation that helps children start thinking more about who they are.
As they get used to answering these questions, integrate more thought-provoking questions. A great way to do this is at a dinner table. What are some events that happened, good or bad? How did it make them feel? What lessons did they learn?
Over time, these questions will help your children better understand their traits, beliefs, likes, dislikes, and more. This will encourage your children to start recognizing decisions that are the best for themselves, which will help them to become more confident and independent.
Encourage Them to See Different Perspectives
Like adults, children want to feel heard and understood. So when they aren't feeling that way, they may act up. It can be a headache that can go on for days. This is where encouraging them to see different perspectives can help.
The focus is on showing children that there is more than one side to things. So start by changing the physical scenery. Drive through a different route. Take them to the different parts of town that they are unfamiliar with. Show them that there is more to the world than what they see.
As you do that, also start asking questions that can help them practice empathy. Some questions you can consider are: "what can you do to help them?" or "if you were in this situation, how would you feel?". This will help your child create stronger bonds with their families or friends while influencing them to think before acting.
Self-leadership isn't about teaching your children to be perfect. It's about teaching them to lead themselves in a way that they're taking responsibility for their actions and thoughts. So take it one step at a time.