Summer is here, and like many families we have been anxiously awaiting a getaway that we planned months ago. The plan includes an ending spot where we will park our family for a few days and savor the sun and relaxation that a vacation brings. I would like you to think about your child’s behavior like you might plan a trip…
When you detail your parenting journey make sure it includes the following:
Choose a destination ….What do you expect to have from your children down the road. How will they be when they leave your nest and enter the real world? What kind of college roommate, coworker, boss, husband or wife or will they become because of your guidance.
Your goals for your child may include that they will be: compassionate, kind, gentle, slow to compete with those around them, or maybe it is the opposite, that they will be competitive and have a winning attitude. Maybe you would like them to be cautious, calm and quietly reflective, or maybe that they will be creative, and open minded. Whatever your dream for your child’s future, consider it your destination on the parenting journey and know that (like your summer vacation) it will not happen if you don’t first set it in motion.
Pack your bags: Research what you will need. Rely on your resources to fill your bags with tools and tricks that work for your child’s developmental stage and temperment. Connect with great parenting resources (people, book, programs, and websites) and bring them along on your journey.
Bring a Map: Put your plan to paper and map out alternative routes to the same destination, plan ahead for bumpy roads. Know that you might have to use visuals to support your plan, don’t spend all your time in the fast lane racing from place to place and at times take the road less traveled (your parenting style doesn’t have to be popular).
Round up your “passengers”: Who is a part of your plan? What caregivers need to be aware of the plan besides you? Take every “passengers’ ” perspective into consideration (including both parents, caregivers and grandparents) when you plan, so, everyone feels like they’ve been heard and all needs and strengths have been met.
Rest Stops along the way… Give yourself and your family time to pause, reflect, regroup as you think about your plan and take care of your passengers.
Get Lost: On the way, it is okay to get lost or stray from the beaten path. At times you will have to be flexible in your thinking because all your passengers may have different needs that don’t match up to your plan. To get back on track you might have to try new perspectives, new ideas and new approaches.
Remember the parenting journey may not always be comfortable but if you keep plugging along you will arrive at your destination.