With a new year upon us, self-improvement is the word on the street. Resolutions and goals are all the rage and for good reason. A blank slate and a world of possibilities make big things feel doable. But if we are talking about making 2020 the best year yet, it makes sense to add a couple of parenting goals into the mix.
To be true, I get overwhelmed at the thought of trying to tackle too many things at once. Usually, when that happens, I just give up altogether. With that in mind, I am going to provide you with five ways to be a better parent. Don’t feel like you need to tackle them all at once. Instead, consider taking them one at a time. Start with the one that feels the most doable first and work from there.
Ready? Let’s get started! Here they are in no particular order:
1. Write a Parenting Manifesto
A parenting manifest is basically a vision statement for your parenting. It will help you to see where you are going and what you want to accomplish, which will help when things get muddy or challenging.
For a more in-depth discussion about this concept, listen to Episode 36 with Amy Carney. You can also download a free workbook to walk you through the process right here:
2. DO LESS
In a culture where there is a strong underlying message that the best parents are the ones who do the most for their kids, it takes courage and conviction to purposefully do less. The reality is that the more parents do for their kids, the less the kids learn to do for themselves.
If our goal is to raise competent and confident kids, we must step back and let them take the reigns a little at a time. And that, my friends, means we do less. (Can I get a HOORAY?!?)
3. Ditch Parent Guilt
If you decide to do less when most other parents are doing more, there is a chance that you might be hit with a shot of parent guilt. And that, my friends, is not helpful.
To break free from the guilt cycle, refer back to your parenting manifesto as often as necessary. Remember your big-picture goal and do not allow guilt to get in the way of accomplishing it.
For a deep dive into parent guilt, including the causes and suggestions for how to ditch it for good, check out Episode 26.
4. Raise the Kids You Have (Not the Ones You Wish You Had)
Although all parents love their kids, it is easy to fall into the trap of wishing they were different in one way or another. But if we parent from a place of wishful thinking, we tend to get a little (or a lot) resentful when our kids don’t live up to our unrealistic expectations.
To see each child as an individual, it is helpful to sit down and write a list of all the things you love about each of your kids. Include all of their strengths and things you admire or appreciate. Then, set out to nurture each of those qualities.
Keep in mind that sometimes, the things that drive you crazy about your child might actually be some of their greatest strengths.
Also, check out 16personalities.com for a fun and insightful personality test you could have you could take with your older kids and teens. Doing so might help you to see their strengths more clearly.
5. Pray More
If we are to search for real light and eternal certainties, we have to pray as the ancients prayed. We are women now, not children, and we are expected to pray with maturity. The words most often used to describe urgent, prayerful labor are wrestle, plead, cry, and hunger. In some sense, prayer may be the hardest work we will ever engage in, and perhaps it should be.Patricia Holland
We can read parenting books and listen to parenting podcasts all day, and they can be helpful. But sometimes, the best way to approach a parenting challenge is to pray. God can and will guide us to the right path in our parenting if we come unto Him.
Of this, I am sure.
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