At the end of the day, we are happy to know that our kids are safe and remain healthy. Waiting to take on the challenges of tomorrow. Continuing on with our busy schedules, doing a hundred things and doing them all just okay. Including parenting.
But that’s just how it is, right? Everyone is just trying to balance family, work, friends, and community responsibilities.
We are caught in this rat race of life trying to keep up with our commitments and current trends. It is exhausting!
So what’s the big deal with intentional parenting? Isn’t parenting enough work as it is??
Intentional parenting is making decisions based on what you believe is best for your child. It is establishing a relationship with your children based off of deep connection.
Not what everyone else is doing. Or what happens to be easiest at the time. It is having awareness about the decisions you are making that are affecting your child’s development, both positively and negatively.
There are many parents who just have it in them to make sure their children make it through the day alive and fed. We all know that there are some seasons of life where that is literally the best we can do. And that is okay mama, everyone goes through times like those.
I have experienced far too many of these after falling pregnant while trying to keep up with my high spirited two-year-old.
However, it is not a parenting style that should be continued forever.
Get back up and give it your best shot!
Your goal as a parent should always be to become better and to guide your children with the best intentions.
Even as parents we have a lot of room to grow and transform into the parent we hoped we would be. Parenting is a journey. A long, hard, magical journey, that provides us with so much knowledge if we let it.
My daughter is sometimes my biggest teacher in life. She teaches me daily to slow down, be silly with her, and just love life more than anything. Even when it is not perfect. (As a recovering perfectionist, this can be a challenge for this mama!)
Our goals as parents should be greater than to make sure our children are safe, fed and healthy. We should be desiring deep connection with our children. Our words speak into their soul and create their self-voice in their head for the rest of their life.
There is an epidemic of poor mental health in our society. Mental health development starts when we are children, and a lot of our long-term mental health is determined by our childhood. This is probably why so many people blame their problems on their parents!
Now that does not mean individuals do not have control over their mental state from childhood issues, we can always continue to improve our mental state even with difficult childhoods, it may just take more effort and more time to recover from. And no matter how perfect of a parent you are, your children will still have issues to work on as they transform from children into adulthood. That is just part of the process of life.
Intentional parenting is crucial because maybe it doesn’t seem like a big deal today to just be on your phone while your child is watching TV all night. Or maybe choosing other commitments that distract you from quality time with your children. But the disconnect between you two will surely have some type of effect if that is a long-term pattern.
An intentional parent guides their children in the directions of where their family values align. Somewhere we have lost talking about our values and instead gossiped about the latest trends. It is important for you and your partner to first identify what are the core values of the family. Or what you hope them to be.
Examples of good family values are honesty, gratitude, respect, generosity, compassion, and curiosity. There are so many more but I just wanted to give you an idea to start
thinking about what direction you want your family focusing on.
Why are values so important? Without clearly identifying what your values are, you will be unable to teach your child what you are hoping to accomplish. You cannot expect your child to be respectful if you have not guided your child through life in a respectful manner. They will be incapable of doing so.
As much as parents love to respond “I am the parent and you are the child” to children when they are doing something that children should not be doing, it is very confusing to young minds. They cannot grasp that concept and instead start to fester resentment towards the parent. Children learn by example. So be the example you want your child to be and see how their behavior transforms!
I recently have gone through a trying time with my daughter. She is so curious about everything and just wants to explore. While I love that about her, it can become very difficult when we are in environments that are not necessarily kid-friendly.
I realized I was telling my daughter no constantly and becoming frustrated. In these times of frustration, I would raise my voice and speak out of anger. I soon realized how that really affected her. It never made the situation better and always resulted in her lashing out in anger because she saw me do it. Of course, this didn’t make me happy either!
I do not want to teach her that is how we solve our problems and communicate to each other. She is only two, what am I going to do when she is 15?? I had to learn new ways of dealing with our conflicts.
When I know I am at that point of breaking down and screaming at her, I try to ask her for a hug and explain the situation calmly. Most times the hug will redirect her attention enough where the problem is resolved calmly.
I am pretty sure every mom is guilty of yelling at their kids, especially if you have multiple kids. But just because all of us do it does not make it the right thing to do. Will I ever raise my voice at my daughter again? For sure, shes only two, we have a lot more life ahead of us.
Each time I respond that way I think about the situation and how to handle it better next time to prevent yelling again. My hope is that yelling at my daughter when she is doing something that upsets me is not the common way of our communication. I want it to become a rare event in our lives.
My hope is to apply the techniques of positive parenting in our lives and remove the negative talk. It is very hard for me to break these habits as this is how I was taught to communicate in my childhood. But I am aware that it needs to be worked on in order to not damage our relationship.
Setting parenting goals are a large part of intentional parenting. No parent is perfect, we are all human, just like our children. But that does not excuse the bad habits to continue to be a part of our lives.
Being an intentional parent is hard work. It requires you to be a conscious parent and to question everything you do. It requires honesty about your own habits and parenting techniques. Even though it may be a bit challenging and time-consuming at first, it is worth it in the big picture.
How better else could you be spending your time than investing it into your children? Our world around us is moving at lightning speed. Slow down mama, your babies are only small for such a short period.
I recently came across this quote and fell in love….
Children are not a distraction from important work. They are the most important work you will ever do in your life.
How many parents do you know to view their parenting role as such? Even though there is not a monetary value behind raising children, it is the most important role we have as humans.
Change your view on parenting. Get rid of this idea that parenting is another chore in life.
Be excited, and have energy in your parenting!
Believe it or not, your little ones can sense your energy Mama. Don’t make them feel like a chore. Make them feel like a God-given gift to you that you are grateful for!
We are raising the next generation who need to learn how to love others abundantly, communicate effectively, and be a positive contributor to our society. You have the power to raise amazing individuals!
You can uplift your children and make them feel unstoppable! Mama, your intentions determine your children’s inner voice of self-worth later on. Because if their mama doesn’t believe they are worth the effort, why would they believe that anyone else would feel they are either?
So how do we start our journey with being intentional parents? Think about everything you do as a parent and why you do it. Question your techniques and routines to see if there are better ones out there for your children. Have open and honest conversations with your partner on how they see your parenting and vice versa.
A few ways to incorporate intentional parenting habits are:
- Learning how to effectively communicate with your children, Communication with your children is the foundation of the entire relationship. One of the biggest gifts you can give your children is to LISTEN to them. Like seriously pay 100% attention to the words that are coming out of their mouth. Put down your phone and look into their eyes when they talk to you. They will feel so important knowing that you have stopped everything just to listen to what they have to say. Great communication skills can overcome any obstacle a family might encounter. (I am still working on this one!)
- Model what a healthy and respectful relationship looks like with your spouse. Your children will learn how to love by observing what is modeled in front of them. Remember they are observing how you treat strangers and people in need as well. This is where humanity can be effectively taught to our children.
- Value the time you have with your children. Being present in the time that you have with your children is crucial to establishing a deep connection. Children need to know that you are interested in their interests and spending time with them. It will make them thrive to see how much you cherish that time with them. Let go of your busy schedule and make some one on one time with your kiddos.
- Put boundaries on technology. There are many great things technology does for us, however, if we are not careful it can become a barrier in our relationships. Including your spouse and children. Make sure to schedule technology-free time with the family to maximize the opportunity for deep connection. (Look at your data on your phone to see how much time you are spending on it…it might surprise you!)
- Fuel your children with nutritious foods. The foods we put into our body energizes our body and mind more than most people realize. Make sure to provide a healthy example of diet choices. You might have more success when giving your children multiple healthy options to choose from that way they feel that they hold some of the control. A lot of the time behavioral issues are linked to diet choices so you might be fixing multiple problems at once!
Remember, intentional parenting is not focusing on what specific qualities you are hoping to mold your children into. Instead, it is about how you go about guiding your children to find their own best versions of themselves. Providing an environment and relationship where they feel comfortable to do so.
I hope to have energized you Mama to become a little more intentional in today’s activities. Little changes can have the most impact on our lives and create amazing tomorrows.