Parenting is tough. Every child is different and there is not one path that works for every family. You have to go through trial and error to figure out what works best for you and your family’s needs. However, taking a more purposeful approach to parenting can help you to stay proactive instead of being as reactive. July is Purposeful Parenting Month and a great time to reflect on how you can incorporate more purposeful tactics into your daily life as you raise your kids.
Strategies for Being More Purposeful
Building strong relationships with your children and having open lines of communication can go a long way. When children feel comfortable opening up and coming to you with questions and concerns, it can help to steer them away from unhealthy behaviors and keep them out of trouble. You can support them in developing skills that they will be able to use throughout their lives for coping with challenges, building friendships, avoiding peer pressure and developing their independence and self-esteem. Empower your children to pursue their dreams and be themselves.
Be a Positive Role Model
Your children observe and absorb more than you realize. They are constantly taking in information from the world around them. This makes it even more important for you to be aware of your own actions and behaviors so that you can be a positive role model. If you are trying to instill in your children the importance of being physically active and you are sedentary yourself, it causes a disconnect. Alternatively, if you are trying to teach them to be respectful and accepting of others and your own interactions do not reflect this type of behavior, they may be unsure of how they should be acting.
Stay Actively Engaged in their Life
Be an active part of your child’s life. Get to know who they are as an individual and what their likes and dislikes are. Encourage them to pursue their interests and foster this learning and growth. Use teachable moments to have discussions about the dangers of substance use, bullying, and other negative behaviors. This can help them to better understand these issues and make heathier choices. If a problem arises, they know that they can and should talk to you about it.
Also get to know their friends and their friends’ parents. You want to make sure that they’re spending time with people who are a positive influence in their life. Ideally everyone will be on the same page with expectations and what they allow and do not allow their children to do. Even still, set clear boundaries and expectations with your own children, so should they be in a difficult situation, they can make the right choices. Praise them for doing the right thing, and help them to learn from their mistakes. Work together on problem solving and communication.
Spend Quality Time Together
Have dinner together as a family as often as possible. Use this time to connect and share stories about your day. Listen to your children’s concerns and show empathy. They are not always looking for answers or solutions, and some issues they have to work out on their own, but just having someone listen can be helpful.
Make plans to do things together as well. Maybe some activities are one-on-one with each child and others are the entire family together. Do things that everyone can participate in and stay active. You will be able to learn and grow together trying new activities and making lasting memories. It may not seem that important right now, but these are the things your kids will look back on down the road and remember. They may tell stories to their own kids someday about how your family went to the zoo every summer, walked to the local ice cream shop on Sundays after dinner, or the fishing trip they took with their dad.
Building these positive relationships can boost your child’s mental health, promote healthy decision making, and instill life skills. It can also encourage family values and help everyone to work toward common goals; everyone realizes that they play an important part and their thoughts, opinions, and interests are important.
Let your kids know what is acceptable and what is not. Follow through with consequences and hold everyone to the same standards. Your kids may complain about having to do chores, not being allowed to watch certain shows or movies, having limited screen time, or having a curfew, but you are the parent, and it is your call. They may not be able to see the benefits right now, but as they get older, they will appreciate your concern and realize that you were looking out for their best interests. When confronted with a challenging situation, they will also be able to reflect back on what they have been taught and know how you would want them to respond.
You can’t protect your child from every bad thing in the world, but you can help to set them up for success. Being a more purposeful parent opens lines of communication and lets your child know that they are loved and supported as they grow their independence. You can have more meaningful interactions and be a positive influence on their life.
PediaPlex can help you to work through challenges that your family faces, whether you have a child with special needs who could benefit from a wide range of therapies, your child is going through a rough patch and could use counseling, or you have concerns about your child’s development or behaviors. Our highly trained team works with you to determine your child’s individual needs and how we can best help them to thrive and make the most of their future. We can put together a customized care plan and provide the support and guidance your child and family need through a variety of services. Start your journey to becoming a more purposeful and proactive parent today and find out how PediaPlex can help by calling or filling out our patient intake form today.
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