In Summary
  • What are you doing with good intentions that is denying your child effective life skills?
  • Being intentional begins with having a clear sense of what you are doing, and what is driving it.
  • A good place to start is interrogating your parenting stories.

Recent and not so recent stories involving young lovers, or would be lovers, killing each other have led to a debate about today’s children. Key themes include resilience, or lack thereof, love, self-respect and ambition.

I walked into a conversation where a group was upset about somebody’s child having been killed by a childhood friend. They referred to the alleged killer as a ‘psycho’.

Sadly, I reminded them, that ‘psycho’ was also someone’s child. Yet, I believe, no one goes out of their way to raise a psycho, a killer, or a user.

Parenting, as is often said, is the most difficult, most fulfilling job. You don’t know the results of your work until much later, when you cannot change the foundations.

While there are no guarantees, there are ways to reduce the chances of ending up with a child who is unable to function effectively in a world full of challenges.

WHERE TO BEGIN

So where does one begin?

As with many things in life, it begins with your personal vision for parenting. Do you have one? Do you have a picture of what the child you are raising, or the one you would like to raise will be like when they are 20, 24, 35?

We do this in business all the time. We set strategy, we have targets, we track performance, we review actions, and keep a learning log and use that to review strategy.

Okay, not always, but it is good practice. Guess what? This can be done for parenting too. I call this ‘parenting intentionally’. When you begin with the end in mind, you can work backwards to identify steps you need to take to end up there.

It helps you make choices because you have a yardstick against which to measure: will it move you towards your vision or not? It motivates you to learn – to get better at doing what will help you achieve your goal.

Let me tell you a story.

Charity is three years old. Her parents, like many others, work away from home, leaving every morning to return in the evening. Weekends are different because they don’t leave as early, and sometimes go out with Charity.

She loves this and cries no end if they go out without her. Because the parents hate to hear their daughter cry, they have devised a way to avoid it. When they want to leave without her, they send her off to look for her shoes then quickly escape.

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