Teaching Kids About Goals, Intentions and Focus

intentional parenting parenting tips raising kids role model teaching kids to think Jan 07, 2022
Teach Kids About Goals, Intentions and Focus

Happy New Year!!  Have you thought about what you want for this year?  Is this the year that you stop yelling and become the calm and effective parent you want to be?  Is this the year that you improve your relationship with your kids so you can stop walking on eggshells in your own house?  How do you want to grow, what experiences do you want to have, and how do you want to feel?  

The days and months go by quickly, and life can just happen to us if we’re not paying attention.  We just accept what comes our way — and we don’t intentionally create the experiences that we desire, or work to become the person we want to be.  We exponentially increase the likelihood of creating new and different results for ourselves by being more intentional and paying attention to what we focus on. 

If I asked you how much time you spent thinking about the past, present, and future, can you tell me approximately what the percentages are?  Is it 50/30/20, 20/20/60, or 10/80/10?  Where do you fall?  

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I’ve been talking about it with my friends to check in on their experience.  As I’ve been paying more attention to my thoughts and focus, I can see there is a direct correlation between where my focus is, how I feel, and the results that I’m creating in my life — and I’m not alone.

To be completely honest, when I’m focused on the past it’s typically with regret.  I wish I had done something differently, I wish someone else had done something differently, or I wish things had turned out differently.  I typically look back wishing for a different outcome, and think that it shouldn’t have happened that way.

The problem with this is that you can’t change the past.  It’s over and done with.  As I’m coaching clients around past events now, I tell them that it was supposed to happen that way.  You know why?  Because it did.  Continually thinking about the past and wishing it was different is like arguing with reality.  And you know what, reality always wins, 100% of the time.  

I’m working diligently to teach this lesson to my kids too.  About five years ago I started telling my kids (and husband) “I’m sorry. I can’t change what I did in the past, but I promise that I will work to do better in the future” when I didn’t handle things as well as I (or they) would have liked.  And then I followed up with what I said — and I really did work to be better.  My kids watched as I worked hard to be able to keep my cool, listen and communicate better, and become a better parent.

They learned that they can call me when they screw up too.  There was a time when each kid had a mishap with the car within a one month span.  They were both really upset and nervous to call me, especially after the second accident in one month. (Thankfully they were each fine, and the owner of the Final Finish Collision Center was great to deal with!)  

As I was dealing with each child, I was very grateful for all of the work that I had done — because I was able to respond calmly and effectively.  I let them know that the accident had happened, we couldn’t change it.  My being upset and angry was not going to help the situation.  We discussed what had happened, how they could have handled it differently, and what lessons they learned so that it wouldn’t happen again.  I’m teaching them how to learn from mistakes and focus on doing better in the future.

I’m not saying that kids shouldn’t have consequences for making bad choices, but we can discuss consequences much better when we are calm and rational than when we are angry and upset.  And in the process we also teach our kids how to respond when mistakes or something unexpected happens.

I tell my kids that beyond lessons learned, continuing to ruminate on the past and wish it happened differently is a total waste of time and energy — because we can’t change what happened!  Thinking about the past takes up precious real estate in your head that you could be using to enjoy the present, or intentionally plan for a better future.

Personally, I spend the majority of my time focused on the future.  I’m often thinking about what I want to create, what experiences I want to have, and who I want to become.  I think this has served me well both in my past life where I started and grew two different businesses, and now as I pursue my dreams and mission of building a new emotionally healthy and happy generation from the ground up — starting with our kids.

I’m very intentional about what I want for my future, and that intention is like a personal internal GPS helping me get there.  If you don’t set an intentional destination in your GPS, it’s much more difficult to get where you want to go and you could end up driving around aimlessly.  Kind of like how time passes us by, and life just happens!

As much as I love being future focused and thinking about the future that I want to create and build, I have also figured out that I experience the most peace and happiness when I’m focused on being present.  When I’m present I’m more often than not noticing and appreciating the little things and blessings in my life.  I’m paying attention and engaging with the people around me, and intentionally working to brighten their day — which in turn makes me feel even better.

So for 2022, I want to spend as little time as possible focused on the past.  I still like being future focused, but I believe that giving up some of my future focus to be more present will serve me as well as the people whose lives I can touch and brighten.  I would like to think that I could possibly get to 10/50/40, but that may be a little ambitious since I’m likely around 20/20/60 now!

So how about you?  What do you really want for 2022?  What kind of a parent do you want to become?  What do you want your relationships with your kids to look like one year from now?  Where is most of your focus going?  To create a different future, get more intentional about what you want and what you focus on.

And how about your kids?  Are you talking to them about what they want, and what they’re grateful for?  Questions like these help them become present and future focused.  Most of all, remember that they are watching and they learn from you.  Consider adopting my line - I’m sorry.  I can’t change the past, but I will work to do better in the future.  Then really start working on doing better.

If you want help, that's what I'm here for and I would love to help you! I help parents build stronger relationships with their kids by helping them learn to keep their cool and communicate so their kids will listen.  

I have a number of free resources available that you can access right away:

If you struggle with yelling, download my Free guide to gain control and lower the volume so you can become the calm and effective parent that you want to be.

If you struggle with stress and overwhelm, grab my worksheet to get out of overwhelm so you can make time for what matters most. 

Remember, kids don’t come with a parenting manual.  Stop expecting that you should simply know what to do to be a great parent, and know that support is only a phone call away.  If you want or need more help and support, hop on a free call to learn more about my coaching programs and upcoming courses. You can get on my schedule here.

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