Christos Efessiou didn't know much about parenting when his daughter Persephone was born. What he did know was business.
In his new book, “CDO Chief Daddy Officer: The Business of Fatherhood,” Efessiou teaches that parenting can directly parallel with the business world.
He gave Metro tips on how to successfully apply a business-minded approach to parenting:
“In business, we don’t start a business without a plan,” he says. “We plan the elements of the business. So in parenting you have to make the conscious decision to decide what kind of parent you want to be and what it is that you’re willing to sacrifice to become that parent.”
No parent BFFs
“You cannot be your child’s buddy,” Efessiou says. “There is not a single situation that I am aware of that that has worked in."
“In business there are good days, [when] everybody likes everybody, but you really need to be able to assert yourself in days of turmoil and days that your authority needs to be exercised," he says. "If you are friends with your employees, they will not respect you all of a sudden becoming the boss.”
Lead by example
“The most important thing is that parents need to be mentors to their children, and they need to actually lead by example,” says Efessiou. “That means, you cannot say to your child, 'Do as I say, not as I do,' because that’s not how children learn, that’s not how adults learn.”
Empower their decisions
“The best way to empower them to make decisions is to give them options,” explains Efessiou. “Give them a reasonable number of options that you have presorted, and then allow them to pick from those options.”
Efessiou refers to this as the Socratic method because it fosters debate. “It is based on the information of exchange between both sides, with one side attempting to convince the other of its better way of doing things,” he says.
“You’re empowering them to make choices,” says the author, “empowering them to be responsible, and the choice is theirs but not entirely because you have narrowed it down for them.”
Give them a voice
Using the Socratic method, he says, avoids rebellion from the child while teaching them to support their beliefs with evidence, find common ground and have a voice.
"If something goes wrong at work that we don’t like,” Efessiou explains, “as long as we have a voice, a way to make our own voice heard, that is what we really want as opposed to having our opinion accepted and enacted.”
Can we have it all?
“Absolutely yes,” answers Efessiou, “but not in the same moment.”
Even as a CEO traveling all around the country, Efessiou believes you can still be a present parent.
“Parents can be furthest from their children sitting at the same couch watching TV — they’re worlds apart,” he notes. ‘Then there are other parents that travel all of the time for business, and they’re as close to their children as a heartbeat away.”
“The parenting of a child is as much emotional as it is physical,” says the author. “The child knows that you love them, so long as they feel you loving them whether you are in the same house or the other end of the world.”
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