You’re hired! Your start date was the day your first child was born. Your boss is a person a fraction of your size with dubious communication skills. Your job: the Most Important Job in the World – parenting. You accepted the position with anticipation, joy, excitement and a little bit of trepidation. It’s the Most Important Job in the World, so how will you know you’ve succeeded?
By now you have the tactical aspects of this job nailed down (feed, change, dress, love, feed again, change again, love, stimulate brain activity, change again, and so on). Your current activity hinges on how quickly or how well you react to the immediate situation: “You must be hungry, let’s get you a snack.” “We need to change that dirty diaper.” “Please don’t push your friends.” You’re flying along in operational mode.
But wait – you are also the CEP (Chief Executive Parent) in this organization, and Chief Executives set the strategic, long-term vision. With such an important job to do, having a vision for the success of your family clarifies your objectives and helps you focus your actions, just as they would in the corporate world.
How would your outlook on parenting change if you had a clearly defined vision for what “success” as a parent would look like to you? Would you feel more empowered if you had specific, daily tools to proactively foster the positive values and behaviors you hope to nurture in your child?
Here are a few tips to define success, integrate your parenting goals into your daily activities, and shift your thought process to be more proactive and less reactive:
1. Appreciate your child’s unique personality and talents. Children come into the world with their own personality. While we can guide, support, and influence some aspects of their behavior, who they are at the core is pretty well established in utero! That’s part of what makes them unique and precious, and they should be celebrated.
2. Decide what parenting success means to you. Imagine a point in your child’s future (college graduation, wedding, etc.) when you will reflect on the adult your child has become. Set the platform to be proud of the wonderful person they have become, respecting their inherent traits as well as the values they hold and how they treat others and make decisions.
3. Set an intention to succeed. Set the image of parenting success clearly in your head and act as if it were a fait accompli. Make a commitment to make your success image come true.
4. Make a plan and make it easy. For each of the most important success factors, identify ways you can model to your children that value or behavior while you go about your everyday life. Get your children involved in the process. This is your opportunity to be proactive and reinforce positive actions each day.
5. Review at different stages in your child’s life. Find a way to remind yourself of your intention and your action plan. Review it periodically to make sure it is still relevant to you and appropriate to your children’s’ ages and interests. One of the best ways to ensure that you stay on track with any goal is to find an accountability partner – your spouse, a friend, a coach.
When you consciously and intentionally model the traits and behaviors you wish for your child, your opportunities to foster those values grow exponentially. You may never get a formal performance appraisal for your job as a parent, but it’s nice to know that you’ve done everything you can to help your child be the best person they can be. Now that’s a job well done!
1. Notice something you like that your child is doing. Ignore the negative unless it will hurt themselves or others. 2. Notice how you feel when they are doing something that you like. 3. Say it! (“I feel…..that you….”) 4. Notice how your child responds.
1. Notice what you don’t want your child to do. 2. Think of something that your child can do instead. 3. Tell your child what they can do. 4. Help your child if necessary.
So it goes like this. You notice that your child is heading out to the road. You don’t want them to do that so you think of something else they can do like look at a pretty flower you see by your house. So you ask them to come over to look at the flower and go over and guide them to the flower if they still head over to the road. That’s overly simplified but it’s basically positive redirection.
They said that it’s important not to say “don’t”. So instead of saying “Don’t go into the road.” you are giving them positive options that they can do.