Have you thought about the values you want to instil in your children?

November 24, 2016 23:22

A parent is a child's first and most important teacher.

Being a parent is the most responsible and challenging role we will ever have, but it comes with no training - we just learn on the job. It is very easy to lose sight of our purpose. Some days, I feel more like a chauffeur, chef, cleaner, nurse, entertainment director, PA and banker. Our role, apart from providing a calm, secure, loving haven is to prepare our children for adult life.

Admittedly, parenting has become a bit of a competitive sport. But I passionately believe that we should put as much effort into strengthening our child's core qualities - their resilience, moral compass, emotional intelligence, creativity and kindness - as we put into their academic or athletic performance.

To parent in a more purposeful way, it really helps to take the time to create a clear, compelling vision of what you and your family are all about. Naturally, we want what we think is "best" for our child, but they will eventually make their own decisions about their career choice, spouse, where and how they live. We can only truly influence them by integrating our values into our parenting.

The first step is to sit down with your partner and ask some key questions. What is important to you in your life? What are your views about making life worthwhile? What are the key qualities or characteristics you would like to see in your children as adults? What will enable "success" for your child? Every family will of course have different views as to what these key values may be.

Being a parent involves an immense investment of time, nurture and effort

Then, with your children, create a Family Mission Statement, outlining what you really want to do and be as a family.

Having a well-considered, mindful mission about your parenting philosophy and what you hope to achieve is very powerful. Brainstorm ideas and write your mission down where you can all see it.

The next step is working out how to instil these values into your children; after all, 80 per cent of parenting is modelling.

Think about how you react when you are upset, angry or tired; how you treat others (especially family), and how honest you are. Your kids see and absorb everything.

Modelling is important, but it is not enough on its own. Praising the occasions when you see your child displaying the right values will reinforce their good behaviour.

Other values need specific rules and boundaries so that children are made to act in certain ways until they become habitual. A consistent, predictable environment ensures children feel safe and secure.

The only way to truly influence children is by focusing on your relationship, being emotionally in sync and having a deep, genuine connection with them.

Being a parent involves an immense investment of time, nurture and effort. It may take years before you see the effects, but take a long-term view.

Your vision is their future.

November 24, 2016 23:22

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