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Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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The Crucial Role of Leadership Traits for Parents When Sending Their Kids Back

Many of my friends are preparing for the school year to start. Some are first-time empty nesters with college-aged children heading off to school.

Many parents find themselves faced with the task of sending their children back to school, an experience that has taken on new dimensions in today’s rapidly changing world.

Beyond the typical concerns of academic and social interactions, parents must now navigate a landscape influenced by technology, societal shifts, and the ongoing impact of the global pandemic. Possessing leadership traits is more crucial than ever for parents, enabling them to guide their children effectively through today’s challenges.

What traits do parents and guardians need as they send their children off to start another school year?

Adaptability and Resilience – Adaptability and resilience are indispensable for parents as they navigate the complexities of the modern education system. Education is evolving, with technological advancements, new teaching methodologies, and global connectivity shaping the way young people learn. Parents who exhibit adaptability can more easily embrace these changes and foster an environment where their children can do the same. Moreover, resilience allows parents to weather the storms of uncertainty and setbacks, providing a steady hand for their children to rely on when faced with challenges.

Effective Communication- Effective communication is a cornerstone of leadership, and it plays a vital role in the parent-child relationship during school years. As children navigate friendships, academic pressures, and personal growth, parents who communicate openly and empathetically create an environment where their children feel safe discussing their concerns and seeking guidance. By being approachable and attentive listeners, parents can better understand their child’s needs, making them better equipped to provide relevant support and advice.

Setting and Modeling Values – Leadership involves setting a vision and values that guide the actions of a group. For parents, this means instilling a strong set of values in their children, which is especially important as kids interact with a diverse and sometimes complex world at school. By demonstrating and discussing traits like honesty, respect, and empathy, parents equip their children with the tools needed to navigate social situations, build healthy relationships, and make responsible choices.

Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking – Education is not just about memorizing information, it is about developing the skills needed to navigate life’s challenges. Parents with strong leadership traits foster problem-solving and critical thinking skills in their children by encouraging them to explore solutions independently, analyze situations, and make informed decisions. This skill set equips children with the ability to tackle academic challenges and real-world problems alike, laying a strong foundation for their future success.

Mary’s note: What skills would young people learn if they had to set up their own dorm room or apartment?

Emotional Intelligence – Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage emotions in oneself and others. Children often grapple with a wide range of emotions, from excitement and anticipation to anxiety and fear. Parents who exhibit emotional intelligence can provide the necessary support, helping children navigate their emotions effectively and build a healthy emotional toolkit that enhances their overall well-being.

Leading by Example – The phrase “actions speak louder than words” holds true in most aspects of life. Parents are often the first role models for their children, and their behaviors significantly influence the child’s development. By highlighting leadership traits in their own lives, parents demonstrate the importance of these qualities and provide a living example for their children to emulate. Whether it is demonstrating perseverance, embracing diversity, or maintaining a growth mindset, parents who exhibit these traits contribute to their child’s holistic growth.

Conclusion – Sending children back to school is a journey filled with excitement, challenges, and opportunities for growth. In today’s ever-changing world, parents with leadership traits play a pivotal role in guiding their children through this journey. Adaptability, effective communication, value-setting, problem-solving, emotional intelligence, and leading by example are all qualities that help parents create a nurturing and empowering environment for their children’s education. By cultivating these traits, parents can ensure that their children not only succeed academically but also develop into well-rounded individuals equipped to navigate the complexities of the modern world.

Looking for a great way to help 18-30-year-olds on their leadership journey? The Five Minute Leadership Guide book is perfect for young managers, leaders, and college attendees. 


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