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kids leaders

Raising a Leader: An Effective Tool to Help Parents Raise Leaders

(Inside: Raising a leader and developing leadership skills in youth is important. This effective tool can help you raise your kids to be leaders.)

“But, maaaawwwwm, I cleaned my room good enough…why does it matter if it’s not perfect?”

How many other moms have heard that phrase in the last week?  

Or hour… 

Or…5 minutes? 

Your child brought one cup down to the kitchen, threw his covers on his bed, and put one pair of dirty underwear in the hamper. Also, you can insert any other scenario into the above: finished my homework, helped my little sister with reading, loaded the dishwasher… Then, add, “Can’t I just do it tomorrow?” for the cherry on top and you have the formula for one crazy mom. 

Y’all – we’d take a bullet for our kids – but we will get to the point in teaching our kids responsibility that there is no way we are putting away their cereal bowl…again. 

How can we get our kids to understand that their actions can reflect who they are as people?

How do we help them to comprehend intrinsically that when they take care of their responsibilities, they are learning how to be organized, independent, and lead through example? How do we shape these young minds to realize that accomplishing working hard with integrity now in the little things, will greatly help them thrive in the big things to come? How do we shape our kids to be leaders?

Transformational language.  

Transformational language is a tool  I’ve been using in my home (and my high school classroom) for the past year.

We focus on teaching leadership through transformational phrases we interject into our daily language, as it feels natural. We watch as the message slowly seeps into our kids’ hearts and take root.


raising a leader
Be inspired in raising a leader and more. Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens here.

The science behind why transformational language focused on leadership works. (An effective tool to raise a leader.)

There are three needs every human being craves: safety, belonging, and mattering.  These qualities, according to  Forbes magazine are “essential to your brain and your ability to perform at work, at home, and in life overall.”

We’re going to focus on the third quality– we all want our lives to matter. Something deep in all of us pulses: we want to be strong human beings that contributes something worthy” to this world. We want to figure out how we can make an impact, we need to be leaders in our own lives. 

Intrinsically, we crave steering our own ship and that our work matters.

What about leadership should we focus on and how often? 

Leadership is a huge topic; every corner of the world needs good leaders – in politics, in communities, in our homes, and in our personal lives (self-leadership). 

As I researched articles on this topic, I narrowed down the numerous leadership qualities to two that moms can be focusing on now to empower their kids to pursue their potential. In Forbes Magazine, 10 Unique Perspectives On What Makes A Great Leader, Brent Gleeson lists, these two qualities (among others): 

  1. Serve a higher purpose.  
  2. Don’t lead by force; lead by example.  

Before we dive into how we, as parents, can incorporate transformational language into our every day that will shape our kids into leaders (who serve a higher purpose and lead by example), let’s first tell our kids about this new perspective through a dinner conversation. 

How to facilitate a reflectional conversation that will help us raise kids to be leaders.

We need to help our kids understand that their actions now develop important leadership skills. (However, that shows up in their future space in this world – big or small.) Here are the points we need to bring up in our dialogue:

  • Your everyday actions matter; your effort now will build the leadership skills you will use later.  
  • How you work reflects directly on you (People judge who you are by your actions, whether you like it or not – that’s reality). 

The conversation could look something like this… 

Around the dinner table, or before bed, or on lazy Sunday afternoon, gather your people around and connect over these discussion questions.

Start the dialogue by asking your kids to reflect on leaders in their lives.

  1. Name people in your life who are leaders. (Teachers, coaches, counselors, parents, grandparents, doctors…etc.)
  2. Who of those individuals do you think is good at leadership?
  3. What makes that person a good leader? 

Answers will range and important qualities will be talked about including having a vision, being kind, and instilling inspiration, but we want to guide the conversation towards this point: A good leader takes care of his/her responsibilities.  

Continue to ask to help your kids unpack their thoughts by asking these questions.

  1. Would you think this leader, perhaps your soccer coach, is a good leader if she didn’t come prepared? What if she didn’t take the time to come up with a game plan for the practice, set up the necessary equipment well…etc.
  2. Does this soccer coach need her mom to come and tell her to be on time, make sure to set up the field with the cones and equipment for the drills, and do a job well done? 
  3. Do you notice your coach’s actions? Do your coach’s everyday actions reflect the kind of person she is? Explain.  

Again, the answers will be different, but you’re trying to have your kids see how exactly zero good leaders have his/her mom nagging them to do a good job!  

Conclude the conversation with the following questions.

  1. What are your responsibilities right now? Do you do them well on your own, or is your life filled with people bossing you around? 
  2. Do you want to be bossed around or do you want to want to be a leader?  (Just-for-fun bonus question: Can you envision how you’d want to be a leader in this world in the future?) 
  3. Describe changes you will make to be a leader in your own life.  

Move forward letting your kids know you will be using transformational language that will remind them to be a leader and complete responsibilities well. Urge them to pay attention to how when they complete their tasks well, they will hear less nagging and more praising. (Moms, make a mental note to notice their good work and praise their effort.) 

After discussing leadership as a family, how to naturally incorporate transformational language that will help us all raise kids to be leaders.

Moms, you must promise me this: This is not a stressor in your life.

  • There is no exact right or wrong way to do this and you will not beat yourself up if you think you are failing. You’re not. You’re a champion. Always. Keep that in mind as we proceed.  
  • Also, I have lots of parenting ideas on this page, but we only work on one thing at a time with lots of long breaks. What’s that saying, “If you try and do everything, you won’t accomplish anything.” (Or something like that.)

Now, onward…

In our everyday conversation, we want to work on using transformational language that shapes our kids into leaders. (As it feels natural, when you remember, we don’t need to overkill this.)  In other words, parent backwards. Think about the successful, independent, confident adult you want your child to grow into and ask yourself: What do I want my kid to do and learn from this situation that will help him grow into a leader? 

Here are some ideas of common everyday scenarios, and how we can transform our words so they empower and point our children toward one goal: to be leaders.

I also created a printable with 17 Transformational Phrases you can you to help you raise your kids to be leaders, download it now here or below. 

Yes, I want Transformational Leadership Printable!

Leadership Transformation Phrases for the Morning: 

Kid’s Responsibility:  Transformational words:  
Setting their alarm and getting out of bed.   You’re a leader – you don’t need me to get you up, leaders are in charge of themselves. 
Getting dressed, brushing teeth, eating breakfast, putting shoes on, PUTTING ON DEODORANT…etc.  You’re a leader – leaders don’t have the moms follow them around and nag them about getting ready.  
Having a backpack together, being at the bus stop on time…etc.   You’re a leader – leaders lead by example. Your teachers and peers will notice that you are prepared.  


Leadership Transformation Phrases about School: 

Kid’s Responsibility:  Transformational words:  
Pay attention, take good notes, stay focused in class, do what’s expected.   You have a leader – leaders have a purpose, your purpose right now is to do well in school.   
Connect with peers.  You are a leader – leaders notice other people and are kind.  
Learn from their teachers.  

(Especially if they are struggling.) 

You are a leader – leaders know people (even teachers) can be difficult and try their best anyway both to get along with the person and thrive in the situation.  
Homework/studying.  You are a leader – leaders challenge themselves to learn new things.    

Leadership Transformation Phrases 
Home Responsibilities: 

Kid’s Responsibility:  Transformational words:  
Chores.  You have a leader – leaders contribute, even when they don’t feel like it.  
More chores.  You are a leader – leaders learn to live a disciplined life where they take care of their responsibilities.  
Even more chores.  You are a leader – leaders do a good job.  
Helping siblings.  You are a leader – helping your siblings will grow your leadership skills.  


Leadership Transformation Phrases Activities: 

Kid’s Responsibility:    Transformational words: 
Getting Involved in activities.  You are a leader – leaders learn about themselves by finding out what they are good at and how they can share their gifts in this world.  
Going to practice, even when you don’t feel like it.   You are a leader – leaders follow through with commitments.  
Trying out for a team/auditioning for a show.   You are a leader – leaders step out, even if they are afraid to fail. You will grow from this experience no matter what the outcome. 

raising leaders

Moms, I created a printable with 17 Transformational Phrases that will you raise your kids to be leaders. Put it on your fridge or tuck it into your journal to refer back to later.

Sign up here and I will email you instant access to the freebie library. Download this helpful list and more.  

Yes, I still hear sometimes: “But, maaaawwwwm, I cleaned my room good enough…why does it matter if it’s not perfect?”

But when I answer my son with, “Hey – you’re a leader, right? You know when your room looks clean. Do you really want me to come up there and boss you around? Do leaders need bossy moms?” his shoulders straighten a bit. He doesn’t necessarily go back to the task with enthusiastic vigor, but I’ve planted a seed as to why his actions now matter. And I’ve given him an image of the leader he might someday be.  

Moms, we can’t control our kids’ outcomes – but we can plant seeds. So, let’s focus on what we can do. And if it doesn’t work…well, we’re all pretty amazing at the stone-cold-crazy-eyed-you-better-do-what-I-say-or-else stare…

We don’t only want to be raising a leader, we want to build character in our kids.

More than my kids being super successful or achieving accolades, I want my kids to be people of character – kind, loving, loyal, compassionate, empathetic, faith-filled, and integrity-driven.  I’m not trying to raise perfect kids (not possible!), but I do hope my kids have an internal compass that steers them to lead a life of integrity. And while they are still in my home, I’m going to try to lead them there.

I hope you both enjoy the full “raise kids of character” series and find it helpful.

Raise Kids of Character Series

A Family Connection Activity to Help You Raise Happy Kids
Raising a Leader: An Effective Tool to Help Moms Raise Leaders

Why Your Kids’ Weaknesses are Also Strengths 

Be inspired in raising a leader and more. Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens here.

Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens

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