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Intentional Parenting

Intentional. /inˈten(t)SH(ə)n(ə)l/ -  done on purpose; deliberate. Deciding that you are going to bring life into the world can be overwhelming. It can and may be the most frightful and fulfilling thing you will ever do as a human. Those overwhelming feelings can manifest in different ways for different parents because of their current state of mind and what they've endured in their own life. You have to be intentional about what you demand from your children and how you respond to them. So what type of parent are you? The suffocator: For some, the main focus is to ensure that they wrap their children in love and warmth constantly. They want to envelop them in their arms and shield them from the wiles of the world. They treat their embrace as a bubble that is impenetrable from all the ailments that come their baby's way. They catch them every time they fall, beat themselves up for every little scratch they get. They remove every obstacle from them so that they never endure any hardships. They never leave their side because they are afraid of them feeling anything that could be seen as negative. They don't want them to feel fear, anger, frustration, or confusion so, this parent may not set a standard or boundary lines for their child to abide by at all. They generally parent this way because they themselves grew up feeling unloved. Maybe their parents weren't involved enough or too strict and they have sworn to never let their child feel any of these emotions because that is all they ever felt. The helicopter: This parent hovers over their child's every move so that they can immediately correct them. They subconsciously become very critical of their child by telling them what to think, how to dress, how to speak, and how to feel about situations around them. This parent is very strict and rigid and doesn't leave much room for error. They themselves may have made a lot of choices that they regret so they hover their children trying to prevent them from making any mistakes so that their child can live the perfect life they never gave themselves. Understand, knowledge AND experience begets wisdom. You have to give your children the knowledge, and then they have to make some mistakes to learn the lesson for future references. Life is to be experienced and their mistakes are practice for when they are not around you. It helps to wire their brain about natural consequences for their actions. They will not be able to think for themselves if you do not allow them to make mistakes and guide their understanding of their mistakes when the outcome isn't what they expect.  The observer: for others, they observe their children. This parent will make sure their child knows they are always around, but never in their way. They pay attention to their child's body language, facial expressions, and words (if they are speaking) and step in to teach as needed and requested. This parent helps to place language to how the child is feeling so that they learn to be expressive. They are a listener even if what they hear or see feels uncomfortable. This parent probably practices "pausing" often. We all know our children do stuff that just doesn't make sense, and instead of blowing a fuse or coddling the child, they will pause. Take a deep breath. Process what the child was trying to do and model self-control by asking questions to help this child get to a better solution for next time. They understand that life is about trial and error. They aren't afraid to apologize and try a new strategy to get their child to learn a new skill/behavior. This parent either grew up with the same type of parents, or has done the work to re-parent themselves. They realize that their child is just as human as they are, has their own set of emotions and ideas, and doesn't stifle them; they help to shape them. Maybe you are one of these or maybe you are a mix of all three. It's important that you realize how you respond to their actions help to shape them. Whatever adjectives you want them to be, you have to be intentional about your responses to get them there. You can shape them to be fearful and anxious, you can shape them to live without understanding boundaries and self control, or you could shape them to be patient and steady. I challenge you, whichever type of parent you think you are, to ask your kids who are of age how they feel about you as a person and parent. You may get a different response from each child because each child is different and as much as you try to parent them all the same, you can't. Each child needs a different kind of parent. It's so important for you to figure out your child's love language (<--click) and make the necessary adjustments to make them feel loved, responsible, empathetic, and confident!  I hope you all are staying safe! #HomeTogether Peaches Dean

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