How to Raise Impressive Kids
By the time someone graduates from college, they have completed seventeen years of format education. But in that time, they didn’t attend a single class on how to raise a child, and they haven’t been taught the first thing about how to sell—which ironically, are two of the most important functions an adult will be asked to perform in their lifetime.
I hope that future generations will look back and see this book as a collection of truths that will be just as relevant and applicable to parents a hundred years from now as they are today. That alone would be an impressive and remarkable accomplishment. Let’s call everything else a bonus.
[ Ask the Author ]
I never intended to be a sales trainer. If someone had told me back in college, that I would later write and publish four books on anything, I would have said they were crazy. Now, some years later, I run a sales consulting firm that gets hired by executives to train some of the most sophisticated sales organizations all over the world. Life is funny.
Similarly, before my wife Laura and I had two daughters, I didn’t have a great deal of perspective regarding what parenting might be like, either. Truthfully, nothing can adequately prepare you for the awesome responsibility of raising a child. The Lamaze classes my wife and I attended while she was pregnant only taught us how to pop ‘em out. “Does this thing’ come with an owner’s manual?”…, I remember asking the doctor, just after he spanked my newborn for the very first time. As you know, there is no instruction manual for how to raise a child. For most parents, it’s trial by fire.
Somewhere along the way, my career as a business person intersected with the responsibilities associated with being a parent, and it turns out that the job function of a sales professional and the role of a parent have a lot in common. Consequently, I have learned a great deal about the human side of parenting by teaching people how to sell. I have also learned a lot about selling and teaching through my ongoing experiences of being a parent.
The most significant contribution of my career has been the creation of a strategic sales methodology called Question Based Selling. After investing the first seventeen years of my professional life in the trenches of sales and management, I jumped out of the corporate world and founded QBS Research, Inc. Our philosophy for being successful in business is very simply based on the premise that the questions you choose to ask, and how you ask them, is more important than what you can ever say.
Since I started teaching people about the QBS Methodology, I have received countless letters, emails, and personal notes from people in all walks of life telling me that in addition to QBS increasing their effectiveness in business, the same techniques that work with customers have also dramatically improved the way they now interact with their family, friends, neighbors, spouse, and yes, even their children. After hearing this feedback virtually every week for the past ten years, it became clear that it was time to put the wheels in motion to complete this project.
For me, The Question Based Parent has grown into an evolving mission field, where this book gives me an opportunity to make a contribution that I hope will have an immediate impact on the way you interact with your children. More importantly, I believe that the concepts outlined in this book will change the way your kids interact with you. At some point, the bigger-picture question needs to be asked: Are you doing things as a parent that will create desirable long-term results in the way your children conduct themselves, or are you just a combatant in the ongoing battle to make it through the day?
I am the proud father of two very impressive daughters, Sarah and Mary Claire. While my natural sense of pride would like to think that they are indeed the beneficiaries of good genetics, it must be noted that children are incapable of parenting themselves. Therefore, some credit must be attributed to the environment in which they were raised, as well as the training they have received thus far. Have we done everything correctly as parents? Clearly, the answer to that question is no. Trust me when I tell you that we have stumbled upon numerous bumps in the road, in addition to encountering a few sizable potholes along the way. Fortunately, I believe that most of the lessons we learn from the school of hard knocks ultimately make us better people, and better parents. The parental lessons that we have learned have also made the document you now hold in your hands a better book.
The lessons of The Question-Based Parent are clearly intended to put some methodology to the madness in our quest to raise impressive kids. In our favor is the fact that human nature is often very predictable. There is no doubt that children are going to test your patience on a regular basis. Pushing parents to the limit is part of the job description of every kid. Ever so slowly, however, you will begin to realize that while the parent/child struggle hasn’t changed significantly since you were a child, your perspective on what is fair and reasonable has probably changed dramatically now that you are the parent.
That’s because you no longer think like a child. Instead, you are now responsible for your family’s health, welfare and direction, and the weight of every dilemma will ultimately rest on your shoulders. But, your kids are still kids, and they will never buy into the idea that spanking can actually ‘hurt’ a parent much worse than it hurts the child. Likewise, their youthful perspective doesn’t allow them to comprehend the logic behind basic principles like the need for good manners, disciplinary consequences, or your desire for mutual respect.
But what if there was a way to reduce the number of daily squabbles that can so easily disrupt an otherwise happy morning or soothing bedtime routine? What if were possible to be in closer touch with your kids, to the point where they come to you asking for guidance, as opposed to just having advice heaped upon them? What if feelings of contention within the family could be replaced by feelings of contentment, thereby fostering a more open and more communicative household environment?
There is no magic formula that will completely eliminate the ongoing struggle between parents and children, as they learn to coexist under the same roof. No one ever promised that parenting was going to be easy, or that you and I would inherently possess the skills required to be successful mother or father. Frankly, trying to be the best parent in the world has never been my objective. (If there is such a person, I would certainly love to meet them.) In the meantime, the goal of this book is very simple. We have a responsibility to our children be the best parents that we can be, which includes setting reasonable boundaries, making decisions that will benefit the overall development of our kids as they mature into adulthood, and administering consequences that come as the result of their momentary lapses in good judgment.
It is in our nature to care for others, and as parents, it is natural to care most about our own children. We want to share our hopes and dreams with the people we love, and we want those people to openly share their thoughts, feelings, and concerns back with us. Every parent wants to end up with confident, well-behaved, respectful and appreciative offspring. Now, wouldn’t that be impressive? To achieve this goal, there is some responsibility on your part to be an effective communicator, and you no doubt recognize that or you wouldn’t have made the investment to read this book. From here, my goal is to give you the tools and insight needed to be successful so you can fulfill your destiny as a question-based parent.