Parenting with a Purpose is Step One

Parenting with a Purpose is Step One

It is hard to deny that parenting is probably among the most challenging tasks we can face in our adult lives. Parents usually have the right intentions and we all want what is best for our kids, but how does this translate into actions? When it comes to our children, unfortunately our decision-making usually goes through our hearts not our heads, feelings often trumping reason. Even if we do think about what the right parenting decision is, at the end of the day we often still succumb to making emotion-driven judgments. Why? Because as parents, in a funny way, we are built to easily become very guilty or conflicted about doing anything that upsets our children, even temporarily. Also, it’s hard to concentrate on the many things we need to do in our busy lives when our child is experiencing distress- and probably not being too shy about letting us know how they are feeling as well as the negative impression they are currently having about our parenting skills. It’s hard to hear your child say, “I hate you,” even if you know that they really don’t. This all makes it very hard to act the way we know deep down is the correct way.

Like in most things in life, the way of immediate gratification is very seldom the best way. Junk “sugar rush” food tastes awesome, but even though it’s hard, many of us try to figure out a way to not be fooled by fleeting pleasurable sensations and make well-reasoned dietary decisions that will allow us to live longer, healthier lives. Similarly, making emotion rather than reason-based parenting decisions can prevent our children from developing the skills necessary for them to function at their best level in the long run. Is it possible to learn to apply more reasoned thinking to parenting in the same way we can to our food choices? It’s not easy, but here is a first positive step you can take toward this goal.

Step One: Parenting With a Purpose

As a parent, your ultimate job can’t be to make things easier for your child today: the focus must be on teaching them the to have the character and skills they will need tomorrow and for the rest of their lives. If your child is too pleased with all of your decisions, you can be sure they are not going to learn much from them. Have the courage to examine your parenting actions with fearless honesty and see how they match your highest value system, meaning the ideals you believe are truly the most important for you and your family. For example, if you are buying your child a new gadget they are begging for even though their present behaviors and attitudes indicate a lack of respect for their parents or their responsibilities in life, think again. Is this really the right parenting decision?
Once you have defined your purpose as a parent, you will have a solid foundation to work on your next goals in raising your child.

It might help to write down how you want to complete the following statement:
My purpose as a parent is ___________________________________________________.

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