Confident parenting has nothing to do with how many parenting books or classes you’ve taken. It does not mean that you’ve figured out exactly what your child needs in every situation. And it certainly doesn’t mean that you get up every morning convinced that you have all the answers for whatever your kids will throw at you that day.
Confident parenting has more to do with knowing why you are doing what you are doing. It is the ability to see the bigger picture and make parenting decisions based on that viewpoint.
There’s a well-worn story of a man who approached a laborer who was laying bricks and asked him, “What are you doing?” The laborer replied, “Can’t you see I’m laying bricks?” The man then walked over to another bricklayer and asked, “What are you doing?” And the workman answered with pride, “I am building a cathedral.”
Physically, both of these men were doing the same task, but the first laborer was occupied with the present job, while the other had in mind the ultimate goal.
The moral of the story is clear: Setting clear and measurable goals will help a person get beyond the pain or confusion of the present transition and back on track.
As a parent, you could say, “I’m just parenting, striving to survive each day,” or you could say, “I’m raising kids to be authentic, honest, compassionate human beings. I’m raising champions.” The difference is that in the second statement, you are actually setting a goal in your parenting.
Unless parents begin with the end “product” in mind, they will find themselves getting off course and unprepared for their child to become an adult. Knowing what you are aiming for in your parenting gives you the confidence to make hard decisions, have tough conversations, and take risks as you raise your kids.
Confident Parenting Means Setting Goals
Perhaps you set physical, financial, and business goals, but have never thought of setting parenting goals. To help you think through what those goals might be for you, ask yourself this question:
What are the 5 key characteristics I’d like to see in my kids when they are adults?
This exercise takes only a few minutes, but it can help you as you face different challenges with your kids. You can look at those 5 virtues and ask yourself, “Which one of these applies to the situation at hand? And how can I help my child learn this character trait in this particular instance?”
Memorize, display, and remind yourself of those goals daily. They have the potential to be a beacon of light when you are very unsure of how to proceed in helping your child.
Don’t leave your parenting to chance. Don’t get sucked into the day-to-day so much that you forget what you are really after. Your goal should be to raise kids who become adults that you really like, that you enjoy being around. Being with our kids today, ages 28,31, and 34 (and their spouses)is one of the biggest joys of my life. And it all started with very intentional parenting.