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 2020 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 a capable person, 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 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.

Parent-on-Purpose

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 an 18-19-year-old 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?

Redefine-Success-Parent-on-PurposeIt’s great that this son of mine does 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 matter. 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.

Parent-on-purpose-chores

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.

For your chance to WIN, comment below and tell us why you need a copy of my signed hardcover book- Parent on Purpose- A Courageous Approach to Raising Children in a Complicated World! Winner will be selected by random on February 20. 

Valentines-Day-Tradition-14-Hearts-of-Loving-Affirmation

One gift that you may want to give your family members this year for Valentine’s Day is 14 Hearts of Loving Affirmation because there’s nothing better we can do than speak and write loving truths to our loved ones.

It’s never too late to start this easy, yet meaningful Valentine’s Day tradition in your home!(And I’ve even given you a printable below to help you get started!)

The 14 Hearts of Loving Affirmation Valentine Tradition

  • Take the time to write out 14 loving affirmations or messages on paper hearts for each of your children.
  • Beginning on Feb. 1 tack one heart a day on their bedroom door or wherever makes the most sense in your home. I always see parents doing it on bedroom doors, but I decided to do it on the kids’ bathroom mirrors so that while they’re getting ready for school in the morning and getting ready for bed at night they will have no choice but to see loving words and reminders staring back at them.

OR If doing this daily for two weeks isn’t possible or seems daunting, put all of the hearts up at once and surprise your loved one on Valentine’s Day! Make the tradition work for you! Read more

togather-family-fun-game

We want to be close to our family members.

We want our family to be deeply connected.

Yet, we struggle to find the time to be together.

We say we want a close, connected family yet we race around feeding our kids on the run, or we’re too exhausted to gather our people around the table for meals together.

What if I told you one thing that experts say strengthens kids and families the most, is gathering around the table for family dinner? Would that entice you to try and do it more this year?

The one thing our kids need from us, whether they are toddlers or teens, is purposeful time gathered around the family table talking regularly.

I wrote in my book Parent on Purpose, that research links regular family dinners to better academic performance, higher self-esteem and a greater sense of resilience as well as lower rates of substance abuse, teen pregnancy and depression. Read more

have-kids-make-their-beds

How we choose to start our day matters.

My husband and I have an unwritten rule that whoever gets up last is in charge of making up the bed. The entire bed. Decorative pillows and all.

For a long time, I would get up and contemplate if anyone was coming over during the day who might wander in and see my unmade bed. If not, there would be no harm in leaving it undone, right?

We’re only harming ourselves when we take shortcuts and avoid making small efforts.

Does it matter if we make our bed or not?

Starting the day off with this one simple accomplishment sets you up for success. I walk past my bed many times a day and notice when it’s pretty and pulled together. Simple efforts do make a difference.

Once I saw this video, we’ve made our bed every morning since and encouraged our kids to do the same. It is an excellent reminder of the payoff of simple daily efforts in our lives. 

How you do anything is how you do everything. 

There are enough tasks for our teens to complete on early school mornings that making the bed in our home isn’t required, but its importance is a subject of conversation in our family. Some mornings I check the kids’ bedrooms and shoot off a text on our family chat stating 3/5 taking note of how many kids accomplished the morning task on their own. 

I don’t need to battle my kids when it comes to the simple task of making their beds, but I do want them to understand the importance of accomplishing minor everyday tasks. Our youngest son makes his bed every day without fail because it was a habit ingrained in him from living in his foster care group home for years.

have-kids-make-their-beds

If we begin shortcutting the simple things, how will we ever be successful in the big stuff? It’s a great topic of conversation to have with our kids for sure.

Do you make your bed first thing in the morning? Do your kids?

Family-Christmas-Blessing-Jar-Tradition

As parents, we should continuously seek out ways to live out the values that we deem most important. Several years ago I read a blog post about the Christmas Jars and knew this tradition would be a perfect way to teach our children about the power of generosity and giving more than you receive. 
Family-Christmas-Blessing-Jar-Tradition

What is a Christmas Jar?

The Christmas Jar tradition, based on Jason Wright’s bestselling novel is simply a glass jar that you use to collect spare change throughout the year. Our family adds coins that we find on the ground, in the washer and dryer as well as unclaimed money lying around the house. We also add bills that come to us unexpectedly.

The week before Christmas, prayerfully and thoughtfully decide with your family members who you want to gift it to… anonymously.

Was a neighbor laid off? Is a co-worker struggling with health problems? Has a friend lost a loved one?

Click HERE for  3 other simple, yet powerful, Glass Jar Family Traditions

Simply place your Christmas Jar at your recipient’s doorstep, in their car, on their desk — wherever — and know that you have blessed their life with your generosity.

No matter the amount, big or small, you’ll be surprised how much money you can generate in that jar and how much you can impact someone’s life just by your family being intentional all year long.

It was so much fun to meet the author of the Christmas Jars book, Jason Wright. I even hauled our family Christmas Jar to the bookstore to show him how his story and tradition has impacted our family!

You can find all of these fun Christmas Jars products on my Amazon Influencer store HERE. (This is my affiliate link which means I may make a few cents off of your purchase!)

 

It can be difficult to figure out what in the world to buy for our favorite female tweens and teens for Christmas. Here are some of my favorites! These links are Amazon affiliate links.

7 Gift Ideas for Your Tween-Teen Daughter!

1. ALARM CLOCK – $31.99

If you know me, you know I am all about kids using alarm clocks and not smartphones to wake themselves up in the morning! Here’s a great alarm clock for those heavy sleepers of yours!

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE alarm clocks for your kids!

2. ESSENTIAL OIL DIFFUSER 2-PACK – &29.99

My kids use these as nightlights and we diffuse oils when they aren’t feeling well. This is such a great price that you can keep one for yourself and give one as a gift! Want to order quality oils? Check out my Young Living site HERE

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THESE MOOD LIGHT ESSENTIAL OIL DIFFUSERS!

3. SMART LED LIGHTS TO DECORATE BEDROOM – $26.99

My daughter uses these to decorate her bedroom! She does not have them attached to any smart device as they work just fine without.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER DECORATIVE LED LIGHTS!

4. 2020 BUBBLE WRAP CALENDAR – $24.95

My daughter received one of these for a gift last year and she just loves it!

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE A BUBBLE WRAP CALENDAR!

5. WET BRUSH- $9.99

Who couldn’t use another Wet Brush? Makes for a perfect stocking stuffer!

CLICK HERE TO BUY A WET BRUSH!

6. BURRITO-TORTILLA BLANKET – $26.99

Have a burrito-tortilla lover in the family? This makes for a perfect gift! Also, comes in Belgian waffle and pizza styles too!

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TORTILLA BLANKET!

7. High Waisted Pattern Leggings – $26.99

I purchased these for myself and love them! Daughter dear has asked several times to borrow them and I purchased a solid pink pair for her as well!

FORGET LULULEMON PRICES! CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THESE BUTTERY LEGGINGS!

What are your Amazon favorite purchases for the female tweens and teens in your life?

 

 

Jessica-Lahey-Gift-of-Failure-and-Amy-Carney

We know that strength of character is built by learning through setbacks, mistakes, and miscalculations, so why is it so difficult to allow our kids to experience failure today?

We can thank our child’s school online parent portal app for starters.

As a loving and helpful parent, we open the grade portal to check in on our child’s academic progress, only to see that our son forgot to turn in his homework yesterday, and our daughter bombed her latest math quiz. How are we supposed to react now that this information is in our hands?

Are we really to look at it, shrug our shoulders and go about our normal existence without bringing this knowledge to our child’s attention?

That will never happen because we care about our kids. We care about how our students are doing. And even though we know that our child learning through their mistakes is healthy, we cannot help but communicate with our child, our disappointment in their choices and expect them to do better.

How are we supposed to let our child fail when this portal gives us timely information to help our students better succeed?

The online parent grade portal was never made as a tool to help us embrace failure, but instead, its presence in our lives and on our phones heightens our fear of our child messing up. (We are naturally drawn to the red lines telling us our kids aren’t up to par.)

We can also thank Life360 or the other tracking apps we have on our phones.

Of course, a loving parent would put a tracking app on their child’s phone to keep tabs on their loved one while they’re out navigating the world without us. With it, we’re even able to see how fast our new driver is going since he now takes himself to soccer practice. We set up notifications that tell us when our dear offspring arrives at the field and when they depart as well.

And all the while, we can’t help checking the app throughout the day creating anxiety and stress when we see that our child is not where they’re supposed to be or that they’re driving 9 miles over the speed limit, knowing that they could get pulled over at any moment.

With such ‘helpful’ not helpful parental tools at our fingertips, how are we, as a loving parent, to embrace failure as a gift when we can so quickly help our loved one succeed at every turn instead?

We can start by removing these ‘helpful’ apps from our phone and reading the book The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey, where the author helps parents learn to step back and embrace their children’s setbacks along with their success.

Jessica-Lahey-Quote-Gift-of-Failure

Parents want to raise resourceful, persistent, innovative, and resilient citizens yet, culture has us confused about how to do that, and Lahey’s book is the perfect aide to help us get back on track.

Thanks to modern parenting styles and technology, we are launching kids into adulthood without the proper skills and mindset they need to be successful. If we continue to parent in an overbearing manner, our son or daughter may become ill-equipped to deal with ordinary life experiences or cope with everyday disappointments.

We must decide to step back and allow our children to struggle more because it’s what’s best for them. We must choose to remove the ‘helpful’ apps from our phones and let our sons and daughters fail and make mistakes. Lahey helps us shift our mindset to welcome the errors our child will make as a regular part of growing up.

Jessica-Lahey-Gift-of-Failure-and-Amy-Carney

In The Gift of Failure, Lahey teaches us how to purposely lead our child into discomfort, strengthening their character and resolve. She guides us to understand how to be interested, yet not intrusive. Lahey helps us grasp why we must allow our children chances to step up, try, fail, and try again until they get it right. She also teaches us how to enable our children to survive their failures, earn their triumphs, and expect them to contribute to the family household.

The Gift of Failure has targeted advice for handling homework, report cards, social dynamics, and sports. The book helps parents understand why they need to step back and embrace their children’s setbacks along with their successes so they can thrive and grow into independent, confident adults.

I met Jessica at Mom 2.0 Summit, and she gave me a copy of her book The Gift of Failure to give away to one of my lucky readers! For your chance to win, leave a comment below on why you need her wisdom. One winner will be chosen at random on Oct. 18. Winner must be a resident of the USA for shipping purposes.

Check out my favorite parenting books at my Parent on Purpose Amazon Store!

Youth-Hockey-Coach-Player-Meeting

When did it become okay for moms and dads to rant and rave in the stands and feel entitled to text, email and call up their child’s coaches about anything that rubs them wrong?

I recently read this article about a high school coach who left her coaching position because of the overinvolvement of parents. Unfortunately, this narrative is becoming commonplace at all levels of youth sports.

How did my husband Keith ever make it to the NHL without his parents intervening?

My Father-in-law, Jack, says that he never once questioned a coach (good or bad) during Keith’s ENTIRE youth hockey career. Jack also coached football himself and said that he had to ask kids to track down their parents if he ever needed them because they were nowhere to be found.

Youth-Hockey-Coach-Player-Meeting

We don’t have a problem tracking down parents anymore.

They are found on every sideline and set of bleachers today and have made their child’s sport a priority in their adult life.

The problem is that many parents are negatively making their presence known today.

Parents overinvolvement affects our children’s sports experience and their overall love and passion for the game. Three of my five children have played high-level multi-sports, so I get the intensity of it all, but there are certain things parents should refrain from bugging the coaches about.

Let’s begin giving the game back to the kids by letting the athlete be the athlete, and the Coach be the Coach.

Read more

Family-Meeting-Agendas

Growing up, I hung out at my best friend Mary’s house a lot, and, every once in awhile, Mary’s mom would tell me it was time for their family conference and that I was going to need to leave. As my two feet carried me home, I thought about how their family ritual seemed ludicrous. My parents didn’t do this sort of thing in our home, so why in the world would my friend’s family need to have meetings when we didn’t?

As I aged, I began to appreciate the fact that Mary’s family set aside sacred time for them and them alone. Her Mom wasn’t worried about catering to me or anyone else that she had to send home. They had an intentional system to connect, and I carried that idea forward into my family today.

Monthly-Family-Meeting-Agenda

WHY SHOULD PARENTS CREATE A HABIT OF HOLDING FAMILY MEETINGS?

Because families today are going in all directions. Holding mindful family meetings is a way to slow down and purposely connect with your family members regularly. These meetings are a relaxed way for everyone to gather and communicate together.

Family meetings are a time to get honest about the strengths and weaknesses of your family and to talk about how things are going within your family unit and individually. Family meetings are meant to be fun and promote a sense of belonging.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU HOLD FAMILY MEETINGS?

Weekly? Monthly? Quarterly?

Decide what works for your family according to your current schedule. If you have younger kids, it will be easier to meet up around the family table for weekly meetings. As kids get older, this becomes more difficult, although just as important. 

Adriane Thompson of Raising Kids With Purpose says she and her husband, along with their three sons ages 9, 6 and 1, meet on Sunday evenings and “the meetings are usually a mix of screaming, running around, dancing, and cheering with a dash of order.” She says that even with the chaos, something amazing happens:

  • Our kids have input on decisions that impact them.
  • Problems or challenges get addressed in a judgment-free zone.
  • Our family values are highlighted and reiterated.
  • We find out if something is going on with someone that didn’t come up during the week.
  • Everyone feels like they are part of something bigger than themselves and that they have others cheering them on.
  • Chores and family contributions are assigned.

HOW LONG SHOULD YOUR FAMILY MEETING LAST?

Adriane says they keep their weekly family meeting to 15 minutes. “When we first started having meetings, we would all say something nice about each person in our family. Then once all the compliments were finished, that person would get to dance around the house hearing us chant their name. My toddler loved this part. But what ended up happening was the meeting got dragged out making it too long to keep attention,” she said.

WHERE SHOULD YOU HOLD YOUR FAMILY MEETINGS?

I want our “formal” dining room table to be a place where we regularly gather for connective tech-free time together, so this is where we hold our meetings.

The Thompsons’ prefer to switch up where they meet, and Adriane says, “You may even want to consider changing it up once a month and doing it at a park, a froyo place, Chick-Fil-A or somewhere where the kids can have fun afterward.”

FIGURE OUT YOUR PURPOSE 

Claim what it is you want to accomplish through holding your family meetings.

“The goal of a Family Meeting should be to open communication between everyone in the family. Allowing our kids to have a voice gives them autonomy, but also in this type of environment they can get a lot of guidance and know who is ultimately in charge,” says Adriane.

SET THE MOOD

Purposely set the mood and tone of the room to match how you want your family meeting to feel. Do you want it to be fun and upbeat, or do you want it to be serene and serious? Our family meetings always include a dessert, and I light candles so that the space feels calm and inviting.

Adriane agrees to include a special treat for the kids to enjoy during the meeting. “This can be anything from popcorn, special smoothies, muffins to frozen yogurt. Our kids aren’t used to getting a lot of sweet treats, so a family meeting is a perfect time to let them indulge a little,” she says.

END THE MEETING WITH A FUN RITUAL OR FAMILY EVENT

When you have younger kids, you can add an element of fun to the very end of the meeting, such as a dance party or something silly.

For those with older kids, Audrey Monke, Mother of 5 and Writer at Sunshine Parenting says, “Playing a board game or watching your favorite TV show together could be a reward for having the meeting.”



Family-Meeting-Agendas

PLAN YOUR AGENDA

Both Adriane and I, have Family Meeting Agendas that we print out and use for our family meetings, while Audrey says, “You don’t have to get fancy with your agenda. We keep ours on a legal pad, and we take turns being the “chair” of the meeting. Leading the session is good communication practice for kids.”

DOWNLOAD ADRIANE’S WEEKLY FAMILY AGENDA HERE

HERE’S WHAT TO INCLUDE ON YOUR AGENDA

  • What’s working well in your family, and what’s not working so well?
  • What changes do we need to make and what do we want to keep the same?
  • Talk about a value or life skill you want to strengthen.
  • Discuss how well you are serving and loving other people.
  • Coordinate the Family Calendar.
  • Discuss any needs for school or work projects, so you get out of the habit of running out last minute for that poster board!
  • Do you want to payout allowance or any other rewards?

Raising Kids With Purpose Family Meeting Agenda-10

HOW TO KICK OFF THE MEETING 

Start By Saying Something Nice

We used to start our family meetings by turning to the person next to us and saying something we loved about them. Complimenting one another no longer flies with the teenagers, but that practice certainly made for some sweet memories and strengthened our bonds.

Use Conversation Starters

Our family loves using Conversation Starter products around the table. Our favorites are Togather or Food With Thought These questions always seem to lighten the mood of the meeting, and we gain better insight into who one another are. 

Say Highs and Lows

You can also begin with Highs and Lows, where everyone thinks of something positive and something not so positive that recently happened to them.

OTHER GREAT IDEAS TO INCLUDE

Word of the Week

Adriane says her family picks a word from a “words to make you sound smarter” list or “words to study for the SAT,” and they discuss the meaning as well as try to use it throughout the week. I love this idea!

Meal Planning 

Take the time during meetings to plan your weekly dinner menu or to plan for school lunches. Get the whole family involved in what they want to eat for the week and decide who is going to help shop and make the meals too!

No matter if we are raising toddlers or teenagers, we must take the time and make an effort to connect with them regularly. Family meetings tell our kids that they matter. That our family matters. That our thoughts and actions matter.

Setting aside this sacred time for your family, whether it be weekly, monthly or quarterly, is a perfect way to let your kids know you care about them and the overall health of your entire family.

What do you think is important to include in family meetings?



Grown-&-Flown-Book-Review

As a parent of three sons on the verge of adulthood, one daughter right behind them and one son in middle school, Grown & Flown is one of my favorite websites for all things parenting older kids. Not only have I gained wisdom and insight from this popular online parenting resource, but I have also been blessed to write for G&F as well.

Grown-&-Flown-Founders-Lisa-Heffernan-Mary-Dell-Harrington

Lisa, Mary Dell and I at Mom 2.0 Summit in Austin!

Grown & Flown cofounders, Lisa Heffernan and Mary Dell Harrington, have expanded on the online content from their #1 site for parents of teens and young adults and compiled all of their wisdom for those of us following in their parental footsteps into this beautiful hardback book.

The Dynamic Duo teamed with physicians, psychologists, educators, and writers, to produce this essential guide for building strong relationships with our teens and preparing them to launch into adulthood successfully. I love that both of our books feature a paper airplane on the cover too. Great minds (and great publishers) think alike!

Grown-&-Flown-Book-Review

The book Grown & Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family and Raise Independent Adults is a one-stop resource for parenting teenagers, leading up to- and through- high school and those first years of independence. This 335-page book is packed full of advice and wisdom from professionals and parents who have gone before us. You will want to dig through and take what works for you and leave behind what doesn’t.

The book is organized by topic: family life, mental health, academics, college admissions, separating and letting go, college life, and more. The unique chapter topics make it easy to decide what you want to read, depending on your current parenting stage.

Grown-&-Flown-Book-Review

7 Messages You May Need to Read in the New Book Grown & Flown:

  • Why you may want to trust your teen instead of track them
  • 5 signs you may be overparenting your student
  • How to demonstrate loving support to your student instead
  • Why we want and need, to raise intrinsically motivated students 
  • 15 valuable lessons from a high school teacher
  • Why you may want to rethink the 4-year university path for your child
  • Our parental role in helping our child choose a college

In the book, there is an excellent resource that I am saving for next summer on 50 Questions to Ask Before You go Dorm Shopping. I thought I would buy a Bed-in-A-Bag and call it a day. Apparently not. So, I look forward to digging into this section of the book when it’s time to send our sons off to college next year!

If you are parenting teens or college-aged kids, let me know why Grown & Flown’s new book would be an excellent resource for you. Leave a comment below for your chance to win your very own hardback copy!

Winner will be chosen by random on September 17, 2019. Must be a US resident to win for shipping purposes.

Don’t want to wait? Order your copy at a discount off Amazon HERE!

Want to read my work online at Grown & Flown? Click HERE!