One Sunday morning my pastor got up on stage and had a jar with a few marbles in it. He started off saying “ I am losing my marbles here!” My youngest son will be graduating high school soon and off to college in a couple of months.
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As I write this blog post that is a true situation for me. I have about 6 months until my oldest graduates. I have tried for several years to be an intentional parent and learn more about it every day.
He continued his sermon to explain how once upon a time that jar of marbles was full. It was a visual aspect that reflected the fact our children grow and the limited time we have with them.
It is what we do during their time with us is what matters most.
As a stay at home mom, you may feel like you are losing your marbles daily especially on the rough days.
Often times when our children our little we function in survival mode. The business of life can make us feel that way.
There is a better way to get through your days and it involves having a plan as a parent. This is intentional parenting.
What is intentional parenting?
“Intentional parenting is raising your children with a plan not living with them by stopping their annoying behavior and resulting in what is called quick-fix parenting.”
As a young mother in my 20’s I had no idea what I was doing. Sure like most parents I read “what to expect when you are expecting” and many other baby books.
Parenting in real life is a whole other ball game.
When my oldest turned 6 years of age I had my first introduction to intentional parenting.
My daughter was struggling in school and finally diagnosed with ADHD.
It was around this time I met my husband.
We began the journey of raising my daughter together. Him becoming a step-father in his early 20’s would be a quick induction and a fast pace learning curve for both of us.
Through the process of helping our daughter succeed and figuring out this new world of ADHD.
The long journey would include years in many sessions of therapy. Psychologist appointments. Assigned social workers at each of her schools and weekly meetings with teachers.
We were learning the fundamental of intentional parenting.
Learning to parent with an end goal in mind and having open and honest conversations. Changing the way we approached issues and parented all together.
What is quick-fix parenting?
This quote is from the book Intentional Parenting by Doug and Kathy Fields.
“No matter how good their intentions, all parents at times resort to quick-fix parenting: things we do to stop a kid’s negative or annoying behavior. Quick-fix parenting may temporarily ease a parent’s stress level, but it does little to positively impact a child’s future. Quick-fix parenting is a terrible long-term strategy for parenting. Intentional parenting is the opposite of quick-fix parenting.”
Remember earlier I talked about living/parenting in survival mode?
It’s those abrupt ways we correct our child’s behavior. It’s when we forget the way we parent our children and how it affects their future.
We are all guilty of this. So don’t take this in any way. Raising kids is tough guys. We are living and learning this craziness together.
Parent Cue Live Conference takeaways
At the end of 2019, I attended the Parent Cue Live Conference. I was in for a treat and so excited. I have been on this parenting journey for a long time.
If Parent Cue is new to you let me give you a quick overview from their site. It is a “group of family experts and everyday parents coming together to help inspire you to make every fleeting moment count before your kids move on to their next big adventure.”
We spent time learning about the conversations we should have with our children. Plus ways to approach them. These topics included:
- Sexual Integrity
The highlights of this conference were refreshing. There were moments where I would lean over to my other mom friends. I would say oh yeah these were some of the tools we used for our teen.
5 ways to be an intentional parent
This was our first topic. We have 936 weeks with our kids from the time of birth until the age of 18. Broken down that way looks a little different, doesn’t it?
Being intentional requires doing certain things:
- Meet people – these are the team of people speaking into your kid’s life. (teachers, pastors, friends, other parents, etc)
- Add experiences – being present together (meaningfully)
- Prioritize your time – being intentional about prioritizing time with our kids
- Identify needs- parenting on your toes (recognize the changes)
- Talk together- be intentional with your conversations
The goal of each of these steps is to talk to your kid like your kid is the end goal.
One of the tools presented was PhaseProject 4Life Maps. This chronological visual map/timeline walks you through the stages of life. Learning ways to respond. Discussing things you should focus on. The areas of interest your child is in during certain timeframes of their life.
If you would like a copy of this map you just text Phase to 444999 it will send you an instant download.
I love this map!! Download it to see what I am talking about and all the cool information that is in it.
You are redefining your parenting at every stage
In the next session of the conference, we began to talk about how you are redefining your parenting at every stage.
Which is so true isn’t moms? When you think you have your kid figured out. Boom! They go and change it on you overnight.
They talked about how kids are keen observers but poor interpreters. It’s not until high school can they process the why.
I can attest to this. It is only now that my daughter is in her senior year that the why is now becoming the conversation starters for us. Between the ages of 14 and 16, there was no telling her nothing.
You might also like this post: Parenting kids with large age gaps
Any moms with teens reading this can attest teens are like aliens.
But here are the key points they talked about in this conversation:
- As parents remember no one has the potential to talk to your kids like you do
- If we have conversations with our kids now when they are young they will make better choices in life later
- Talk with your kids like they are a human-every kid is created in the image of God
- Humans learn how to be humans from other humans
Dealing with the changes as a parent
As our kids grow so do their needs, wants, personalities, likes/dislikes, thoughts so on and so on.
This is why the next session was so important. As parents, we need to anticipate and look ahead at what will change as your child ages and prepare for it.
So how do we navigate the waters of change?
- Talk to your kids like they are changing
- Talk to your kids like there is an end in mind
- Navigate around the cones with your perferal vision
Maturity brings on a lot of uncomfortable subjects. But if you start to expect those changes you can be better prepared for what’s coming next and how to handle it.
Parenting is unpredictable but there are predictable things we can anticipate.
Let me tell you about the birds and the bees…
Matters of the heart and having the sex talk isn’t as scary as it may seem mamas. Trust me when I say it. Building the foundation upon which to have these future conversations is what the following session spoke of.
- Talk to your kids about guarding their potential for intimacy. Through appropriate boundaries and mutual respect.
- Introduce preschoolers to their bodies. Using real names of the body parts because it equips them.
- In elementary school talk to your kids about how their body belongs to them
- In middle school answer questions about sex in detail if not the internet will. While at it discuss dating values and increase your positive affirmations.
Sex is a part of life so get on with it. You will be glad you did!
Raising children in an instant gratification technology-driven world.
If there is one thing for sure our parents did not have to deal with while raising us it was social media. It has added a whole another layer to parenting. It’s stressful and darn right scary.
But what they talked about is that you don’t have to be smart about technology. Instead, talk to your kids about how to use technology.
What you have to do is know how to be a good human to help your kids become more human with how they use technology.
That is something bloggers know well. As our main platform is using technology we are always thinking about the end-user first.
When it comes to technology we need to teach our kids to remember there is a human behind the experience.
Cyberbullying is a buzz word these days. So these important points are great for learning how to parent with technology.
Some of the ground rules for parenting with technology they discussed were:
- Preschool is about setting boundaries
- Middle school is about collaborating, respecting limits and strengthening it.
- High school is about taking responsibility for the choices they make online
Our children have so much more information at their fingertips than we ever had as parents. So parenting in this world got a whole lot harder.
Talking to our kids
The end of the conference ended with tactics on how to talk to our kids without making statements. It’s about no longer giving your kid advice.
So what exactly does this mean?
When you engage with your kid’s questions are better than statements. Make a statement response (respond) by asking two questions after.
Even if you have the answer you can’t talk your kids into making the decisions. When you let them process it, it will turn out better.
Growing up have you ever had the stern talking to? You know that eye to eye. Well, intentional parenting is about not interrogating your child. The goal is always to win the relationship.
Another aspect of this is inviting other adults to be involved. This is good because they have objectivity. Because when you are emotionally connected the conversations are more difficult. What’s more important then your reputation as a parent is your future.
Always keeping that end goal in mind. The relationship.
For me, this was like I said earlier a great refresher. I enjoyed this conference and got some good takeaways. There were some new ideas. There were some confirmations to some of the things I have done as a parent.
If you are wanting some more ideas on intentional parenting or some good reads. You will want to check out these books.
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