Have you ever stopped to think about the ultimate goal of raising your children?
Do you take time to reflect on why you chose to become parents,
or has parenthood become more of an automatic operation than a conscious choice?
These questions emerged during participation at my Emotional Intimacy Certification training.
We may meticulously plan our career, education, and business endeavours by defining our objectives and understanding the “why” behind our ambitions.
However, when it comes to family life, many of us embark on this journey with little more than hope and optimism. We find ourselves wishing, waiting, and hoping for things to work out, or perhaps responding strongly to minor missteps that may seem significant in the heat of the moment.
What if achieving success in parenting could be as straightforward as in other areas of life?
What if a little extra effort, or even a shift in focus and intention, could make all the difference?
Eleanor Roosevelt wisely noted that planning takes as much time as wishing.
Investing our time in planning, therefore, appears to be a more rewarding choice, as it empowers us to shape our desired outcomes.
While the idea of “going with the flow” holds appeal, consider this: without intention, what if your flow and your children’s flow diverge? Whose direction prevails?
Is this a matter of winning or losing?
Is it about the more significant goal of establishing healthy boundaries?
Navigating Parenting Paths: From Child-Led to Raising Successful Adults
Early in my parenting journey, I was all good with going with child led pathway. Seemed easy and made sense to me to provide structure and be flexible with my responses. I’m a variety driven person, so this approach totally aligned to me.
However, as my child entered the toddler phase, the concept of child-led parenting took on a new dimension.
Suddenly, it clashed with my inner fears and desires.
Child-led parenting unearthed my need for control and certainty – those innate instincts that drive us to safeguard and protect.
The outcome was unexpected: I was comfortable with concept of child-led principles, until they contradicted my own aspirations. Not in the sense of becoming a domineering parent with rigid expectations, but rather in wanting my child to stay close even as he embarked on his adventures – a true escape artist in the making.
In hindsight, having a guiding star or touchstone would have been immensely beneficial to staying focused on the big picture. A consistent reminder that my ultimate aim in parenting was to nurture a future successful adult.
Reality paints a clear picture: the journey of child-rearing demands effort. The mission is nurturing a brand-new human being who arrives without an innate sense of logic, reasoning, or common sense. They rely on our availability and the environment we create to support their learning.
It’s an understanding that their dependence on us is temporary. The key to their proper preparation lies in our gradual release as they acquire capabilities. Embracing the fact that each developmental phase entails its share of highs and lows as they acquire skills and accumulate experience.
Guiding Their Path: Parenting with Perspective
When we maintain the broader perspective, we empower our children to improve and grow, in developmentally and age appropriate ways.
Instead of resorting to telling them what to do, we enable them to learn through their own experiences, with us in the role of guide and building our trusted advisor status.
I know with my oldest (ADHD) wild child, being aware of the big picture was important because there were many difficult moments in the tactical day to day. I had to stop taking things personally and reacting and competing with him.
As parents we can get so focused on what they aren’t succeeding at yet, that we treat them as if we’ve already failed or react ourselves based on our own fear of failure. It’s not fair to either party, as we are both learning together.
How well are you doing with accepting you are learning together? Are you appreciating you’re not just bigger and stronger, that you have the greater capacity to be wiser and kinder too?
The aim should be to create a safe-haven so that your child trusts that you can and will listen before you determine what’s next. Our confidence in the way we parent comes from practice NOT being “all knowing”.
If you are in the trenches raising kids and
not always sure whether there are better ways,