With just one week left to 2018, there’s no time like the present to reflect upon 2019 and set the parenting goals that will make our lives enjoyable. ENJOYABLE. No more “making it through the night”, or day, or week. No more surviving. But living and enjoying – isn’t this what we are here to do?
It’s almost time to say goodbye to 2018 and welcome 2019!
365 days, 52 weeks, and 12 months have passed since the last time we’ve welcomed a new year. Which goals did we live up to? Which goals did we set too far? How do we feel about ourselves, our children, and our families?
The following list is indeed a list of parenting goals, but what’s parenting if not a relationship? These 8 goals and 40 little lessons will make the difference between judgment and acceptance, connection and disconnection, pain and love. Which one will you start from?
Parenting Goal #1
- “He’s crying” doesn’t mean “he’s spoiled”.
- “He’s not eating” doesn’t mean “there’s something wrong with him”
- “He’s not sleeping” doesn’t mean that he’s “fighting sleep”.
- “He wants mommy” doesn’t mean “he developed bad habits”
- “He’s busy” doesn’t mean “he never listens”
Our evaluations have all the power over our present. When we judge, we lose the present of the current moment.
Parenting Goal #2
Try to listen with your heart, rather than with your ears:
- “You don’t love me” actually means “please mommy, I need to know that you love me”
- “I don’t want to go to school” actually means “I want to stay here, together with you”
- “Go away” actually means “I’m hurt and I don’t know how to process it”
- “I want orange juice now!!!” actually means “I had a hard day and I need to know you love me”
- “You gave her more cereal!!” actually means “I need to know you love me”
For years we have been told that being a good listener means listening to words. But our words are windows to our soul – and more often than not, it’s not the words we’re saying that represent us, but what we mean behind these words.
Parenting Goal #3
Try talking from your heart, rather than from your brain:
- “Feeling I don’t love you must be terrible for you. How can I change that”? Instead of “how dare you say that I don’t love you”?
- “I too wish we could stay here together all day long. I know how you feel” instead of “but you have to go”
- “Wow you’re hurting… How can I help”? Instead of “Okay. Come to me when you’re ready”
- “Oh honey I love you so much” instead of “but we don’t have orange juice!”
- “Are you still hungry?” instead of “well that’s just silly. You have the exact same amount!”
Our brains control us, but only because we let them. Our hearts and souls are so much stronger.
Parenting Goal #4
Try seeing with your soul, rather than with your eyes:
- He is smaller, but his desires count as much as yours
- He is smaller, but his heart is as big as yours
- He is smaller, but his fears are as real as yours
- He is smaller, but his feelings matter, just as much as yours
- He is smaller, but his words matter as much as yours
We’ve been taught that size matters, that experience matters. But do we still remember how it felt, being on the other side? Smaller, and not yet experienced? The lucky ones were given a fair opportunity to grow, but most of us paid the price for something we can’t even control. Our age.
Parenting Goal #5
Try changing through acceptance, rather than accepting through change
- Change motivated by shame only leads to more shame
- Change motivated by fear only leads to more fear
- Change motivated by guilt only leads to more guilt
- Change motivated by external factors will always remain external
- Change motivated by acceptance is the only opportunity for growth
We were taught to believe that we have to fight to bring change forth. But did it lead to anything but war? Acceptance is the only motivator. Because is there anything else humanity strives for, than to be better?
Parenting Goal #6
Try modeling, rather than teaching
- The only way to “teach respect” is by being respectful
- The only way to “teach compassion” is by being compassionate
- The only way to “teach kindness” is by being kind
- The only way to “teach gratitude” is by being grateful
- The only way to “teach responsibility” is by being responsible
We were taught that we can teach; but if we think of it, most of these teachings result in fear, guilt, and shame. Isn’t there another way to learn?
Parenting Goal #7
- All human beings naturally follow the ones they are connected to
- All human beings naturally listen to the ones they are connected to
- All human beings naturally respond to the ones they are connected to
- All human beings naturally react to the ones they are connected to
- All human beings naturally want the benefit of the ones they are connected to
We were taught that discipline matters most, but what is discipline if not obedience? Do we ever think of appreciated adults as “obedient”? I don’t think so.
Parenting Goal #8
Request, don’t demand
- Requests connect, demands divide
- Requests accept negative replies
- Requests are met from inner motivations
- Requests celebrate connection
- Requests are free from all coercion
No one like to be ordered around; no one likes to be devoid of choice. Do we really think that children are any different?
8 Parenting Goals that Changed, are Changing, and Will Change Lives
If we’ll set connection as our main parenting goal, if we’ll set modeling as our main parenting strategy, if we’ll set acceptance as our main approach to life – we will create a better world.
Wishing us all a marvelous and magical 2019 – filled with love, compassion, and empathy. Join my parenting support group on Facebook to get a better sense of how it’s actually done 🙂