Eric Stromer: "Persuader" Parenting Style
I'm a Persuader. I always have been. As a general contractor for so many years,
I discovered in working with clients that the only way I could get the job done right and get my money was by being a smooth negotiator. That means being understanding and empathetic, and having a good sense of humor. I realized that the faster I could get my clients to agree with me and like me in the process, the faster I could get the job done and get paid. I also realized that people don't make rational decisions when their blood sugar levels are low. So if I sensed that my clients were getting agitated, I'd offer to go get them a sandwich. Food always soothes the savage beast.
Now that I'm a parent, I realize that parenting and contracting are very, very similar. I've got three kids, and each successive new kid is like one of my clients who needs me to guide them because they don't really know what the heck they're doing. Also, with three kids, there's a lot of finger pointing and a lot of monkey-see, monkey-do. So you need to do a lot of cajoling and persuading to get the answer out of them. So when I find myself asking, "OK, who put your sister in the laundry basket?" and nobody answers ... I don't get mad, I just laugh it off and use my negotiating skills to get to them to tell me what's going on (whether they actually want to or not).
Because just like contracting, parenting requires a little gentle nudging to get the desired result. And when all else fails, I give them a snack.
Besides being a dad, Eric Stromer is best known as the host of Over Your Head on HGTV, and the AOL host of "Do It Yourself with Eric Stromer."
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