My Mom was never confused in her role as a parental authority figure when raising my sister and me. She knew that her “job” was to raise adults who could capably move out of her home at the age of majority.
She didn’t worry about my grades in school or my performance on my softball or tennis teams.
Yet, how we tend to raise children today bears little resemblance. How can we better parent on purpose today so that we can send capable, confident, and compassionate adults into the world tomorrow?
5 Ways to Parent on Purpose in 2024 and Beyond
1. Be the parent, not the pal
My Mom didn’t feel the need to make sure I was happy and to be my friend while I was growing up. Yet somehow I struggle to create boundaries and say no to things that will make my child unhappy with me, even though I know it’s for their benefit.
When I remember that my goal should not be to make my child happy but to train instead and help my sons and daughter to understand how the world works so that they can move into it one day as capable people, it is much easier to lead them. When we strive for friendship with our children during adolescence, we miss out on the opportunity to provide the parental guidance that our kids desperately need in this chaotic culture they are growing up in.
Remember to surround yourself with friends your age and be confident in being the adult role model that your son or daughter needs.
2. Claim your destination
Where are you headed when raising your child today?
Too many times we spend our days of full-time parenthood reacting to what comes our way. Instead, we need to parent today, remembering that our goal is to one day launch our son or daughter into adulthood. What do you want your child armored with as they walk out the door of your home into the real world? Begin to teach them those skills and strengthen those values today.
When adulthood is our end goal for raising our kids, we will do a better job of remembering to teach them relevant life skills as they grow. We will allow them to make mistakes and problem-solve on their own because we understand they will need critical thinking skills when they leave our home as adults one day.
3. Redefine success
Childhood wasn’t meant to be a season for building a resume to get into college.
Stop today and define what success looks like to you. Who do you want your child to be as a young adult walking out the door of your home? What character traits do you want them to be armored with as you send them off to college, the armed forces, the workplace, or wherever they may go upon leaving your home?
It’s great that this son of mine performed well in school and on his travel hockey team, but when I stop and define success for him as a man, it is not his high achievement or performance that matters. It is his loving heart, soul, and character that will sustain him and develop him into a caring and loyal husband, father, and neighbor.
The problem becomes when we get so focused on our kids’ achievement and performance that we forget to take the time to create the opportunities that will help our children become the type of people that we say we want to launch into the world.
4. Teach your children what you want them to know
No matter what age or stage your child might be at, they can and should be learning life skills.
Toddlers can do chores as can busy teenagers. We’ve just got to slow down and let them. We want to send capable adults into the world who know how to get themselves up on time in the mornings and who don’t always rely on Siri or Mom to solve their problems for them.
Expect your child to help out around the house. Yes, it is easier for you to do everything yourself, but that’s not teaching your son or daughter any skills but to sit and be served.
5. Let another’s hindsight be your insight
Learn from those who go before you.
In my book, I talk about the strategy of parenting six years ahead by looking at what parents are facing six years forward of where you are currently parenting from today. Watch how others around you are leading their children when it comes to technology, schooling, social boundaries, and more. Learn from their successes and their mistakes. Become confident now in making future decisions for your children based on your family values.
Join a parent group in your area and learn from those who go before you. We were not meant to raise children alone, so learn from your community. Read, learn, watch, and grow from the insight of others, and then have the confidence to raise your child with your parental instincts.
Parenting on purpose takes effort. But, I guarantee the efforts you put in now will pay off later as you watch your children grow into capable, confident, and compassionate people this year and beyond.