Purposeful Parenting: More Accountability
“They may place their child in a time-out for hitting someone, but require a simple explanation of how the action impacts other people before allowing the child out of timeout. Instead of redirection, there is more accountability for negative actions, and more reflection on the impact that bad decisions can have on other people, along with what can be done differently the next time.
“The premise of purposeful parenting is that if you know where you’re going, it’s easier to make good decisions about how to get there, both in parenting and in child development,” says Dr. Clabough, who blogs atpsychologytoday.com/blog/neuroparent.
Wiley Wakeman, a life coach and blogger at Genuine Parenting, offered up a concrete example of the difference between purposeful parenting and positive parenting. “My 8-year-olddaughter and I set house agreements together a few weeks ago. I realized that I couldn’t implement boundaries because she had no clear definition of what the boundaries are.
“She has been calling out for clear boundaries by being loud, upset, banging doors, and testing limits. In forming the agreements, I thought this was my opportunity to use positive parenting, which I did to an extent. Then, I learned the most dramatic results of all were from purposeful parenting. That from knowing her expectations and mine together, I could then take action on how I would be with her, how much time we’d spend together, what games we’d play and the support I could offer her through my actions.
Purposeful Parenting: A Way of Being
“Positive parenting is a piece of the pie that is purposeful parenting. Positive parenting is all the things you can do such as positive reinforcement, make time for attention, distracting the child to do something different or greeting the situation with laughter. Positive parenting is a way to take action, where purposefully parenting is a way of being,” says Wakeman.
“I sit thinking how our day went today. She was able to spend time with her cousin, she read, she went to the library which is the norm for her. When we were at home I bustled around cleaning the house and chatting with her as she sat on a bouncy ball. Before I knew it, time had danced by. Weeks before this moment could have turned into her breaking down crying; moving to her room; asking to watch a TV show; or getting mad at me in her search for boundaries or attention.
“This time I stopped my bustling and gave her my 100% attention, we connected, and it only took some 15 minutes of my time,” said Wakeman.
“We have been working, actively, on keeping things more peaceful, better understood, and real at home. In past months, friends and family have told me she needs more discipline, that she shouldn’t act as she does, that she should be placed in time outs or I should focus on positive parenting. I decided to sink into being genuine about my parenting, which turned out to be the path of purposefully parenting.
“I believe a key component of executing purposeful parenting is being in tune with what you value and believe in. From there you can make more space to be present with your child as you are purposefully parenting. It’s about being able to engage with them in a way that you didn’t in the past. You get on their level and get interested in whatever they are doing at the time, while bringing your true self to the table.
“No cell phones, no talking with friends, no interruptions and instead you are fully there whether it is for 5 minutes or 5 hours,” says Wakeman, who explains that it is unrealistic to take all these things out of your life, but rather, parents should “just take the moment to form your connection with your child and then you will have time to tap into all that other stuff when you have shown as much interest in your child as you have in all these other things. ”
Wakeman is seeing results with purposeful parenting. There’s no room for “nonsense, because you let them know the rules and you stick to them. There is a lot of respect, compassion, understanding, attention, fun, and love in this. The results have been amazing, it is as though it is the magic formula for our particular situation.
“Within weeks,” says Wakeman, “my daughter’s behavior has shifted, as has mine. I find it fascinating, wonderful and beautiful.
“The process of purposeful parenting can simply begin with acknowledging yourself and your child and where your relationship stands. What do you need and what do they need? What do you really value and believe, what does your child value and believe? How can you show respect for their interests? How can you be engaged in their interests? How can you come up with clear family boundaries, agreements, and rules? How will the family be held accountable for these?
“After doing this with my child she felt heard, acknowledged, appreciated and therefore has shifted her behavior in line with that which is asked of her. And she is shining and incredible, with noticeably growing compassion,” says Wakeman.
That’s all very well and good during the school year, when kids spend most of their days at school. But in the summer, kids are home free. They have nothing but time on their hands.
That can pose a challenge to parents who more than anything, want to see their children active and productive. It can be difficult to find ways to keep children positively occupied all day, every day, throughout the long summer vacation. That’s where purposeful parenting can really make a difference, by helping parents and children direct their time for useful purposes, for instance, building and strengthening the parent/child relationship.
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