How to become a more intentional parent
Events of the days often blend together. Moments slip by. Weeks disappear. Some days do you feel like you are on autopilot? Just going through the motions? It happens to all of us.
We make intentional decisions every day. We choose careers. We plan our days. But do we think about our plan to parent? Living life with intention takes a bit of self-reflection. Parenting is hard work. It’s also easy to take that role for granted when life’s pressures and expectations take over.
Parenting with intention is not a technique to get your child to act a certain way. It is about knowing yourself and modeling the values and behaviors you want to see in your children. Intentional parenting requires a plan to listen, respond and guide good choices.
How many times have you responded with, “yes, sure” or “oh, really?” without truly hearing what your child has said? You are not alone. Thoughts from work or the to-do list linger in our heads. Check yourself on occasion. When you hear your child’s voice, tune out the noise. Focus attention on them and listen. Turn off the TV and the cell phone during mealtime. Spend 15 minutes talking before bed. Use the car ride for conversation. The only rule is to be present.
As parents we stretch ourselves thin some days. We rush from place to place. We try to be all things to all people. We react with emotion. Being intentional requires some advanced planning and a lot of practice. Kids won’t share as much if they can’t gauge your reactions. Kids stop communicating when they know the reaction will be emotional. Do your best to be consistent and controlled. But be real. If you need to think about how you feel about a topic or question, tell your child. It may be better to have to meaningful conversation a few hours later.
Parenting is a 24-hour deal. We are accountable for all our words and actions. It is the most important role you have in life. Your core values need to guide good choices. Model kindness, expect honesty and encourage your kids to support one another.
Remember that no one is perfect. When you have a tough day, forgive yourself. After all, we all have the best intentions in mind. Each day allows for a renewed commitment to yourself and those around you. Let your actions follow.
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