Since it is our role as parents to guide our children, we have to ask, What is guiding us?
The answer to the above question has to do with your parenting vision. Essentially, your vision guides your day to day parenting. It is the reason why you have the expectations and rules for your kids. Yet, many parents do not define or clarify their vision and purpose.
To develop a vision, first, talk it over with your partner. I recommend that you discuss the question: What are we hoping to accomplish in raising our children and why? If you are a single parent, discuss your vision with family / friends who know you and your children well.
Once you have clarified your vision, write it out in a brief, positive statement. A sample vision statement can be: To raise our children in loving ways and teach them positive values that will help them grow up and thrive at home and the real world.
Your vision can serve as the centerpiece for all you do as parents. Whether it be enrolling your kids in extra – curricular activities, setting rules / expectations, and / or disciplining them, your vision helps ensure that you are handling the situation consistent with your positive purpose.
Defining and clarifying your vision serves 3 crucial roles in raising your children:
Protection: Your vision protects you from being defined by your day-to-day stressful circumstances that all parents face. Whether it be limits around electronics, sluggishness in getting ready for school, fussiness at dinner time, and / or defiance with homework, you can find yourself on the brink of losing it any given day. Your vision helps restore your strength as a parent and promote a responsive versus reactive approach to challenging behavior.
By matching your behavior with a positive purpose versus a reactive circumstance, you are rising above your day-to-day challenges and aligning yourself with a grander and healthier purpose. Your children experience you as being a leader and in charge as opposed to being emotionally charged and being led by your emotions.
Direction: Much like a compass, your vision serves to direct your decision – making and behavior. It helps you remain consistent in directing your children toward growing up and learning the skills to be successful at home and in the real world.
Your kids have a natural developmental drive to engage life in their efforts to grow and learn. They are curious about new experiences and often test limits in their efforts toward growing up. As a values grounded parent, you are there to guide this meaningful developmental process in a positive and fruitful direction.
Your positive parenting vision provides your children the direction they need to channel their energy in positive ways. When your kids as the litany of ‘Why’ and ‘How come’ questions, your vision provides a clear, positive direction for them. This is not to say they will always like it, but they see that your reasoning has to do with a positive, bigger picture other than ‘I said SO!’
Discretion: Parenting involves on-the-job-learning. There is no such thing as being a perfect parent neither a perfect child. Rather, just as your kids are learning to grow up, you too are learning to grow as a parent (otherwise you would not be reading this!).
As involved and loving parents, you make many decisions everyday about how best to raise your kids. Some of these decisions require a judgment call on your part – a judgment you may not feel fully confident.
As you know, there is no guarantee that your parenting decisions will be on the mark all the time. Using your vision, however, can help you make tough parenting decisions while staying focused on your positive purpose (as opposed to the stress of the situation or your reactive emotion). It adds a layer of discretion to unique parenting challenges and situations.
There is certainly more to be said about parenting vision and the positive role it plays in raising children. If you would like to learn more, check out the book,Values Grounded Parenting: A Framework for Raising Healthy Children. It will be available by May 1, 2020 on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. There are several activities that can help you further clarify and define your parenting vision.