It’s a new year, and parents everywhere are making their resolutions. While losing weight and cracking down on the budget may be at the top of your list, another topic remains the priority for many: successful parenting. Seeking parenting advice, we desperately scour bookshelves and websites. We stay up at night contemplating best parenting practices, wondering where we went wrong and if we’re doing anything right. We want our children to thrive, yet worry about messing them up. Perhaps you can relate to this.
If you’re looking for the secret to successful parenting, rest assured. The tools you need are at your fingertips. Let’s take a look at what I call the six pillars of successful parenting. You’ll find that with a few tweaks to your parenting style, you’ll be off and running in no time
Successful parenting starts with planning
As parents, we often feel we are “winging it” as we go. Yet this doesn’t have to be the case. As with anything in life, we need a plan. Think about it. Successful teachers never begin their day without a lesson plan. A coach never begins a game without a game plan. A builder never starts building a house without a clear floor plan. A pilot never climbs into the plane and says, “Ah. Who needs a flight plan? I can just play it by ear today and see where I end up.” Can you imagine if he did such a thing? (I would not want to be on that flight!) If you want to be a successful parent, you need to have a clear plan. This may sound complicated, but it isn’t at all–if you have the right guidance. For almost 20 years, I have helped busy adults, just like you, create a parenting plan so they can get the clarity and confidence they need to reclaim the harmony in their home.
Parenting plans provide clarity
With a parenting plan in mind, ask yourself this one key question: “When I am dead and gone, how do I want to be remembered by my kids?” This may sound like a bit of a strange question, but it is actually key to your parenting success. As you ask yourself this question, ponder on these key themes.
- How did you communicate with your child? What was the overall tone of your conversations? Did your words and actions show your children how important they were to you?
- Did you come off as cold and indifferent to your children or emotionally engaged and warm? Were you empathic to your child’s unique needs?
- Were your expectations for maturity reasonable?
- What was your discipline style? Was the overall focus of your parenting on setting rules and limits or on cultivating a warm relationship with your kids?
- Did you practice self-care? To what degree did you balance your family’s needs with your own?
Asking these important questions will help clarify where you’re going today and where you want to head in the future.
Parenting plans get you mentally prepared
With a parenting plan in mind, you will be better mentally prepared when children backtalk, meltdown, or sulk in silence. When the milk spills, the trip to the grocery store turns into a disaster, the tantrum ensues or the flu rips through your house, that stuff won’t affect your parenting. Remembering the key question: “How do I want to be remembered by my kids?” you will be able to stop, assess what you need and take control rather than flying by the seat of your pants.
Parenting plans give you confidence
According to one poll, 87 percent of mothers said they wanted to be the perfect parent. I am not a fortune teller, but I can predict this one thing: none of us will be perfect parents. We may try our best, but we will never achieve perfection. We must aim instead to be good enough. I hope this comes as a relief to you. When you can embrace yourself as a good enough parent, you can take a deep breath, knowing you’re doing your best. One of my principles of parenting is “good enough is good enough.”
When you believe in your ability to be a “good enough” parent, everything starts to change. You’ll stop worrying about the opinions of family members. Instead, you will start to relax, focus on your own style of parenting, and KNOW you are doing a good job! In the end, you’ll remain confident when your kiddos meltdown for three reasons. You know why they are melting down. You’re clear about what you want them to learn in that moment. You’re confident about how best to teach them.
Parenting plans get you in synch with others
With a successful parenting plan in mind, you get to call the shots when it comes to how you do things in, and outside, your home. This is the chance for you to sit down with grandparents, daycare workers, teachers or sitters and say, “In our home, we don’t yell at our kids or spank them. We use time-outs as a very last resort. But here are the things we do to encourage our kids when they act out, and I hope you can respect that and help us implement them.” These external people in your life may not always agree with your parenting practices, but if you remain kind, confident and firm, they will come to respect them. You will feel good knowing you’ve laid down the plan, and you’ll all learn to be on the same page. Communicating these things will also reduce resentment and confusion.
Parenting plans increase family harmony
If you fear chaos in your home has become the norm, fear no longer. When you have a parenting plan in mind, you no longer feel out of control. Instead of “winging it” each day and merely hoping to survive (with a pot of coffee, some chocolate, some wine and a nap!) you can end the day in peace, knowing you’ve done your best. Even if the children don’t perfectly behave, you can still take a deep breath and remain confident, having connected with your child in a way you feel good about.
A Point To Ponder
Parenting young children may feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Just as a pilot maps out a flight plan or a teacher creates a lesson plan, successful adults begin with a parenting plan. And when that plan is clear, you can begin to experience the confidence and harmony you desire in your home.
Author: Steve Cuffari For many, Steve Cuffari is the mentor that parents call on to make their parenting style warmer, easier and more affective. He is the founder of inTouch Parenting, a company devoted to helping today's parents calm the chaos, raise emotionally intelligent kids, and nurture families that thrive. read more about Steve Cuffari here...