Are you passing on your values to your kids, or do you feel as though all you do is feed, clothe and chauffeur them? Are you always sort of waiting for the next crisis, or are you ready for whatever happens? What would it look like to be more effective as a parent?
An effective parent has a goal, an overarching vision for her children--she knows what she wants for them, and has a sense of how to get there. She keeps the long view in sight, and is consciously, gradually moving toward it. She may not always feel confident and in charge, but for the most part she feels that she's on the right track--her efforts are not wasted; she's an effective parent.
If you aren't quite there but would like to be, consider the two things
every effective parent knows:
FIRST: Know your role, and inhabit it. You recognize that by virtue of the fact that you have children, a certain role is now yours; you are responsible for another human being--ready or not, you're it! You and nobody else are the one responsible for their health and well-being, education, sense of security, and general understanding of the world. Accepting this role and inhabiting it--not trying to get out of it or pawn it off on someone else--is the first step in being an effective parent.
SECOND: Know your goal. From day one, you are going to be the one leading
your children, either in a good direction or a not-so-good one. It makes sense, then, to give some serious thought to where you want to lead them. You need to have a goal in mind--talk it over with your spouse and write it down. Here's an example:
"We want our children to grow up to be healthy, happy adults who reverence God, respect people and things, are responsible members of their community, who make good use of the resources they've been given, and have a relationship with us that is healthy and strong enough to last all through our lives."
Once you have a goal, you can start to establish your own family culture--the way you will live your lives as a family so that you'll be most likely to reach your goal. Everything from your daily meal and bedtime routines to how much TV you watch, how much tech you use, the way you prioritize activities and choose how you spend your time--all of this can be gradually built on the framework of your goals.
Clarity of purpose also gives you clarity in decision-making; you'll make fewer knee-jerk decisions if you have a clear sense of what matters most. For example, say you've prioritized time with your spouse or kids on the weekend and something else comes up; it's no longer just a question of what sounds like more fun--your decision is now based on what's most important to you.
When you begin to understand this--the great responsibility you have-- and you start thinking about the lasting effect of what you do and say, you will start to become a much more effective parent! Instead of just trying to keep your kids quiet and out of your hair, you'll realize that every day matters! There are opportunities each day to add a tiny little lego piece to the larger structure of the life you're helping them to build.
If you'd like help in becoming a more effective parent, understanding your role better, discerning and setting your goals, establishing daily routines, or anything else related to parenting, click the button to schedule a call!