Find your best way to parent

Jul 26, 2023
How to find the best way to parent

Do you struggle figuring out the best way to parent?  Do you read articles and books, listen to podcasts, and talk to other parents looking for the best way to address challenges with your kids? 

In last week’s article I covered how perfect parenting is never the goal.  There is also no one best way to parent, because every child and every family is different.  

You are never going to be nailing every aspect of parenting with every kid — so please stop expecting that you will, and stop beating yourself up when you don’t. 

Instead of having the goal of perfect parenting, I invite you to consider reflective parenting to figure out what works best for you and your kids.

Reflective parenting means intentionally thinking about how you are doing as a parent and whether you’re being the parent you want to be.  Reflective parenting involves taking the time to ask yourself what’s working and what’s not working, thinking about what you want to do differently, and taking steps to change.

Here are the steps to get started:

1 - Accept that you won’t get everything perfect.

Again, you will never nail every aspect of parenting because just when you think you’ve finally got it, your kids will enter a new stage and you will have to start all over again.  Instead give yourself some grace and space when you don’t parent as you would have liked, and consider this an opportunity to teach your kids what to do when you make a mistake.

2 - Reflect on what IS working.

Look back to see what you are doing well.  Sometimes we think we’re doing everything wrong, but when we reflect we see that we actually handled a situation well up to a certain point.  Identify what is working, and figure out exactly where things go off the rails.

3 - Identify what you want to do differently.

When things don’t go well, we can get stuck in thought loops, beating ourselves up for how we didn’t handle the situation as well as we would have liked.  It doesn’t help you change your behavior, and it actually makes it more likely you will handle it exactly the same way (you don’t want to) again.  Instead of beating yourself up, consider asking yourself how you could have handled it better and what exactly you wish you had done differently.

4 - Make a plan.

You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over and expect that you will get different results. If you want to change how you parent, it helps to get really specific on what it is that you want to change and come up with a plan of action ahead of time.  

5 - Set up a consistent time to reflect.

Once you have established a plan of action, set up a time to reflect back to see how you did.  Before you start, remember to give yourself grace and space, and then go through the steps again.  Reflect on what went well and what worked.  Identify what didn’t go as well as you had hoped and what you want to do differently, and come up with a plan of action.

The key to reflective parenting is consistency and making the time to reflect.  If this is something that you struggle with, I invite you to consider that a coach can help!  The first thing I do with my client in every meeting is reflect back on what’s working and what’s not working.  I share strategies and tools to help with what’s not working, and we come up with a plan for what they want to do differently.  I find it’s the fastest way to change and parenting with more confidence.  Click here to learn more.

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