What are Your Parenting Goals?

Do you remember what your expectations were for your children before you had them? You wanted them to be healthy, happy, and well adjusted. How does this now compare to the realities of everyday life full of runny noses, crayon marks on the wall, and temper tantrums? If you’re like most parents, sometimes all you can do is damage control before falling into bed exhausted. Despite your exhaustion, know that your calling is much higher than this. It’s important to have goals as a parent. To actually put thought into how you want your kids to turn out and what principles you want them to learn growing up. If you haven’t put much thought into what your goals should be start thinking about it today.

A good place to start is to ask yourself the following questions: what do you want to accomplish as a dad or mom, what do you want to teach your children, when your children are older what lessons would you have want them to learn? Here are a few goals you might want to consider for yourself:

1. Help My Child Develop Strong Core Values: These may include honesty, compassion, diligence, responsibility, courage, boundaries or self-respect. This is best done through modeling and open communication with your child

2. Help My Child Learn to Serve Others: Children are naturally self-focused and sometimes selfish. From an early age, you can teach your child to serve others by encouraging them to get a glass of water for mommy or daddy or clean up their brother’s room when their sibling is ill. It is important that they learn that the world does not revolve around them.

3. Help My Child Know They are Valued and Loved: The best thing you can do to show this to your children is to spend time with them. Play with them, listen to them, and create memories together. Don’t have a schedule so busy that there is little time for meaningful interaction.

4. Help My Child Respect Authority: There are many children who have trouble respecting their parents, teachers and grandparents. To get your children to respect you, you must first establish your authority over them. Remember, you are not their friend or buddy but their provider, protector, disciplinarian and guide throughout life. They must know your rules, limits and boundaries. Consistency in your response to such rules is a must.

5. Help My Child Have Meaningful Relationships: Modeling is the key to this goal. The best gift a father can give his son is the example of how he treats and respects his mother. This will in turn teach him to respect women. Teach your children to evaluate the characters of their peers in comparison to the values of your family. They will then be better able to cope with peer pressure.
6. Help My Child Honor God: It’s important that children understand that they were created to love God and love others. Help them know they can do this in many ways: by respecting their parents, not hitting their friends, recycling and caring for the environment or caring for their pet.

7. Help My Child Be Successful: In order to do this you must take an inventory of your child’s strengths and weaknesses, then help them to build on their strengths. Whether your child is athletic or a bookworm, encourage them in areas they are gifted. Keep in close communication with their teachers. Don’t fill their lives with so many extra-curricular activities that their academics or sleep suffer.

Having goals as a parent is like having a blueprint to work from. Using such a blueprint will help to shape your child’s life and provide a framework from whence he can make good choices. One day he will appreciate this and will thank for your guidance and love.

Lyris Bacchus, LMFT, LifeWorks Therapist, 407-647-7005 or www.LifeWorksGroup.org

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