Have you ever wondered, “what is the right way to raise my children?” Or, “what is the best strategy for when my child has a tantrum?” “When should I ignore or when is it time to take action?”
Without a doubt at some point we have all questioned our ability as parents. Being good parents implies ensuring the safety and well-being of your children. It means preparing them to be productive adults and passing on the family and cultural values that are most significant to you. We all definitely want to be good parents and feel at the end of the road that we “did the right thing” for our children. But how do we do it? What are the important steps and achievements to feel satisfied?
Being intentional simply means having a plan. First, you must put intention in your actions. That is, think about what you want to achieve in your child’s life with each action that you do or do not do, based on your own values. Second, ask yourself if what you have been doing thus far is really following your intention as a parent.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST
How often do you wake up in the morning and prepare things for your children and your family, not stopping until late in the night. Once you do, you may find out that you are too tired to take care of your own needs. But it is important to be mindful of your own well-being. Ultimately, if you are not well, it’ll be hard to accomplish all the things you want for you and your children. This also allows you to teach them the importance of self-care, by modeling caring for your own needs.
A great part of being an Intentional Parent is about prioritizing where you put your time and energy. And if you choose to be intentional, this will guide your decision-making process on a daily basis. Every decision you make as a parent will have a long term impact in every member of the family. So Intentional Parenting also guides the course of your life, and most definitely, your children’s lives.
HOW DO I BECOME AN INTENTIONAL AS A PARENT?
Know your values
One of the main questions you must answer is, what are the values and principles that are most important to you and your family? What do you want your children to take as adults, to live an independent and balanced life? What do you want them to know for their next stage in life? Of course, the answer varies from family to family and from parent to parent.
It is essential that both parents sit down and agree on these topics. These values will be the basis of your intentionality as a parent. In short, each value will help you focus on finding ways to consistently connect with your children throughout the busy days, and know that every moment counts. Also, it requires you to teach your children what these values are.
Children are all unique, and this is one of the things that enriches parenthood the most. Taking time to get to know the personality and thoughts of each child will help guide your intentions. Also, take time to have one-on-one moments with each of your kids. You will learn what works specifically for your children.
This is one of the most important skills in life. An independent child knows how to express and solve problems. This skill requires a lot of patience and explanation. Also, it requires growing up in an environment where this occurs naturally. We must promote independence as much as we can without preventing our children from growing up.
Some recommendations to achieve this are:
- Help with chores – The main intention is for the children to feel part of the family and for this they need to share responsibilities as well. Think about what skills you are modeling to your children.
- Teach decision-making – From what color you like best, to what clothes you want to wear today, to what you are going to do after high school. Developing this skill is vital to become a productive and independent adult.
- Educate/Instruct – Yes, I know that’s why you take your children to school! However, this is regarding values. These are things your children need to hear from you, the parent.
For example, most parents require their children to clean up their room. But have you ever taught them why this is important to you as a parent? Through explanations, you pass on the values that you want them to carry on. Always, find the teachable moments. These are the times that your children are more eager to learn and connect with you.
Promote effective communication
This is without a doubt one of the most difficult tasks to accomplish as parents. It requires you to be aware of your own communication style and to be as objective as possible about its effectiveness. Communication style should change with time and the age of your children.
By modeling, you can teach your children how to communicate well! Allow them to ask questions about your intentions. This will be a good time for your children to develop critical thinking and express their own ideas.
The time with your children is precious but also limited. This requires persistence in connecting with them. Intentional parents see their children as a blessing, so every moment counts. Take time every day to have fun with your children all together: laugh and play. And plan for dedicated times to work on bigger goals.
Being parents is a complicated task that requires all our soul and attention. However, what better reward than seeing our children be successful and self-sufficient. It’s never too late to start being intentional as parents. I invite you to put all your intention in raising your children, by parenting with a plan, informed by your values!