If you have just joined us in our Parenting Series , welcome. Here we are covering how to parent with purpose.
We have covered a lot of material in our Parenting Series. As with any new exercise regime, we can feel overwhelmed. Also, with all the other demands and challenges which parents face on a daily basis, it is easy to fall back into old patterns or slowly back off of the exercises which are proving to be more of a struggle.
Therefore, it is important to remember, we don’t need to be perfect in our parenting, we need to be purposeful.
How To Parent With Purpose Defined
Being purposeful means that we parent with intention and direction. It means we are open to assessing and addressing two essential questions:
- What kind of parent do I want to be?
- What am I doing to live out the kind of parent I want to be?
The previous four workouts in this series were designed to introduce you to a set of principles and equip you with a set of practices to develop your parenting skills. Hopefully, many of them helped to cultivate a deeper sense of awareness around their importance and their impact on our children. Now, it is up to you take what you have incorporated into your routine and fine-tune targeted areas will help you to reach your desired state of parenting.
If you missed earlier stories in the series start here: Make Yourself Matter!-Parenting Series, Part One
Answer these questions regarding what kind of parent you want to be.
- As you reflect, think about how you were parented. What worked for you? What didn’t? Why?
- What positives and negatives do you see in how others parent?
- Who do you admire and respect as a parent? Why?
- What other resources, belief systems, values, or foundational principles guide you in your parenting? Which ones help you to be the kind of parent you want to be? Are there ones which might not work for you and your children? Why?
When you are finished reflecting, write down your thoughts. Then, read over your response. Are you pleased? Is this the kind of parent you want to be or that you will strive to be? If not, spend more time on this. There is no rush.
From my book, Daughters Betrayed By Their Mothers: Moving From Brokenness To Wholeness, one of the most profound findings was that only two of the daughters chose to become mothers. Because their “lack of parenting” exacerbated the deeply disturbing behaviours of their mothers (and at time their fathers), the “Daughters’” associations with parenting were, understandably, deeply and negatively impacted. Although two daughters became mothers, they chose to parent with deliberate forethought, intention, and purpose. Each made a promise to herself at a young age “not to repeat the destructive and damaging parenting they endured.”
This is critical. It is important to know what kind of parent you want to be. It is important to know why.
By knowing what kind of parent you want to be, you are more likely to challenge and grow yourself by working the Parenting Series exercises. Also, as you formulate your ideas around what kind of parent you want to be, tell your children what you are doing and be transparent with them, especially if you are making significant shifts in your parenting. As you explain what you are doing and why, keep the communication channels open and fluid, checking in on their progress as you are assessing yours.
What am I doing to live out the kind of parent I want to be?
Review the Parenting Series concepts and exercises in the previous posts. As you read through them, select one area which will support your goal of being the kind of parent you want to be? Work on that area as long as you need to. This may take weeks. This may take months. Do not move onto another concept until you feel you have fully and successfully integrated the exercises into your parenting program.
This is important:
- You will know how you are doing by asking your children how THEY are doing
- You will know how you are doing by asking your children how YOU are doing.
Remember to breathe, relax, and keep going.
Exercises for review: To get started, choose one area to work on.
Week One: You Matter
- What am I doing each day that demonstrates I matter to my child? What do I need to work on? What am I doing well?
- Am I checking in periodically with my children to see if they feel like they matter? What did I find out? What am I doing to help them?
Week Two: Showing Up
- Am I healthy and stable? What behaviors do Ineed to improve, change, or eliminate? What areas are strong and healthy?
- To whom and to what do I give my attention? Where do I need to improve or what do I need to change? What areas am I doing well with my children?
- Am I a safe harbour for my children? Do I react or do I respond?What behaviours do I need to improve, change, or eliminate. What areas am I doing well?
Week Three: Protecting
- Am I implementing the practices around safety and protection? What do I need to change or improve? What areas am I doing a good job of addressing?
- Am I communicating with my children about their safety? If so, how?
- Am I implementing thepractices around “caring for my children over time” (nurturance)? What do I need to change or improve? What are my strengths?
- Do my behaviors demonstrate to my children that I am “caring for them over time?” If so, how?
Week Four: Providing and Guiding
- Am I providing effectively for my children’s physical and emotional needs? What do I need to improve or change? What are my strengths?
- Am I being an effective mentor and model? What areas do I need to improve or change? What are my strengths?
In closing, being a good parent is incredibly important and it is incredibly hard. And, it is one of the most rewarding jobs we have if we put the time, attention, and investment into our children who want, need, and deserve our very best.
We don’t need to be perfect. We need to be purposeful.
When our children were born, they made us the most important person in their lives. We must be willing to do the same.
Publishers Notes: Holli Kenley is an American Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and the author of “ Daughters Betrayed By Their Mothers: Moving from Brokeness to Wholeness” and “Power Down & Parent Up!: Cyber Bulling, Screen Dependence & Raising Tech-Healthy Children”