If you ask anyone who leads their family, they'll say "Mom" or "Dad" or "Mom & Dad." But an outsider, observing their behavior and family dynamics for only a short while, can see who really leads the family. I could probably tell in a minute or less, just by looking at your checkbook and receipts. The leader controls where the money goes. If you keep the plastics industry in China running at full tilt, and every other item in your home has a Disney logo, you are not leading your family. If your pantry is full of gummy fruit snacks but fresh fruit is nowhere to be found, you are not leading. If you haven't had a haircut since 9/11 but your daughter has enough dresses to outfit the Miss Toddler USA pageant, don't bother looking behind you - you're not in front.
I said that not to make you feel bad, but to point out that the grownups are supposed to lead. There is a reason why God put parents in charge of the children, and not the other way around. Parents have wisdom that children don't have. Wisdom comes from experience. No matter how smart my children are, they will never be wiser than I am. I have years of experience that they have learned to respect.
This article is about discovering who leads your family, so that if you're leading, we can proceed to talk about money and relationships. If you're not leading, make a decision today, and do not back down, that YOU (and your spouse) will be the head and not the tail, above and not beneath. You first lead by modeling the behavior you want to see. Your children learn to speak English by modeling your speech. They learn to eat with a fork by imitating you. They learn to love reading because they see you reading every day and they love to sit in your lap while you read to them.
As your family's leader, what behavior are you modeling?