12 Jul How to Be a Purposeful Parent for Children of Various Ages
July 12, 2017
In honor of Purposeful Parenting month, we will discuss what it means to be a purposeful parent and how you can be a purposeful parent.
A purposeful parent is one that strives to be and do the best for their children. This definition is fluid, as it can mold to each individual’s ideas and values.
Regardless, being a purposeful parent takes a great deal of work and commitment; the outcome of your efforts will be a family that upholds your values and treats each other with love and respect. Saying you want to be a purposeful parent, and working towards being a purposeful parent are two different things. Here are some tips for how you can begin to achieve purposeful parenthood:
- Tell your child/children that you love them.
- Everyone wants to feel loved and supported. Let your child/children of all ages know how much you care by speaking and showing your emotions.
- Create a safe environment.
- Provide for your child/children by caring for their needs and making them feel safe. Set rules for younger children and keep a watchful eye on them. Continue to provide structure for older kids but allow some leniency so that you do not over burden them. Set up emergency action plans as a family and discuss their safety with them in an age appropriate manner.
- Share your feelings with your family.
- Talking to your family about your thoughts, feelings, and what is going on in your life is important. It helps to create a bond and allows everyone to speak freely and be there for each other. Keep the language age appropriate by staying simple for younger kids and understanding that older kids may react in different ways depending on their emotions. Always show respect regardless of their emotions and remember that sometimes their emotions may overcome them.
- Treat others the way that you want to be treated.
- This is highly important for children of younger ages since they do as you do. Leading by example will help them to understand what is appropriate and should carry through with them over the years.
- Embrace each individual’s uniqueness.
- Naturally, each child will develop their own personality. This will occur throughout different ages. Whether it is a phase or their character, celebrate what each individual brings to your family and allow them to feel comfortable in their own skin doing what they love.
- Establish family traditions.
- Family traditions give everyone something to look forward to. Whether it is something pertaining to a holiday, or it’s just a creative family event, it will produce long lasting memories for the family to cherish.
- Plan fun family activities.
- Structured or unstructured, it’s always great to have fun family activities together. Engage in age appropriate activities with your child/children to create bonds between your family members. For younger kids- play outside, play a board game, craft, put on a play. For older kids- engage in something that sparks their interest as it will likely keep them more involved (and try to keep electronics away!).
- Stick to your own instincts and decisions. Changing your mind can be confusing and frustrating for your family.
- It’s okay to change your mind from time to time. But it’s best to stand firm in the decisions that you make. Young children may grow confused by what they can and cannot do and this may make them reluctant to ask. This can carry over throughout the child/children’s later years, causing them to become rebellious. By standing firm with your decisions, being clear, and engaging them in a conversation about “why” can help to paint a clear picture.
- Give your child/children responsibilities.
- Giving your family responsibilities will hold them accountable for something and will teach them that your family needs to work together as a team. As they grow older, they can gain more responsibilities. This will make them feel as though they have a purpose and will teach them valuable lessons along the way.
The Guidance Center’s Common Sense Parenting classes offer parenting tips like those above. In addition, the Marks Family Right from the Start 0-3+ Center offers parent education, therapeutic and support services for young children and their families, as well as pre-school evaluations for children ages 3-6. Sue Cohen, PhD, Director of Early Childhood and Psychological Services at the Guidance Center’s Right from the Start Center, added a final tip:
- “In today’s world, it is so important to set and follow-through consistently with limits for children in an effort to nurture healthy development. “
Furthermore, Sue states, “Parents should remember that they are not alone, it is best to work as a team, with input from a partner when available, your child’s school, and other appropriate influencers to provide a cohesive and consistent message.”
If you’re in need of support, contact the Guidance Center at 516-626-1971. Our trained clinicians can help you navigate any parenting struggles you may be experiencing, and our Parent Advocates can impart their wisdom for future parenting success.