Purposeful Parenting Month
Child rearing doesn’t come with a guidebook, but there are many resources and tips to help you navigate through some aspects of it.. July, also known as Purposeful Parenting Month, is an initiative from the US Department of Health and Human Services that focuses on fostering healthy relationships between a parent and child. The time-frame was chosen since most children are home from school, and opportunities abound for productive and open discussions.
Purposeful parenting is similar to positive parenting. Both embody a set of goals and objectives for children. While positive parenting focuses on, well, positivity, purposefulness focuses on expressing clear expectations. This reduces confusion (and resulting negative emotions) between parents and children. It’s about creating an environment in which there is consistency and structure. Children—and parents—can feel safe expressing themselves in healthy ways. Parenting tips include:
1. Saying no—and meaning it.
When a child requests something, and the answer is no, don’t change it. To a child, it changes the meaning from an absolute to a maybe, and leads to coercive behavior.
2. Once a child starts to whine, don’t engage with them.
Crying and whining are unacceptable behaviors, and shouldn’t be acknowledged. When the child can speak to you in a proper voice, then respond. Responding to crying and whining reinforces the behavior as acceptable.
3. Ask once. And only once.
If you are repeating yourself multiple times, it lessens your authority as a parent. Ask your children to do things one time. And if they ignore you, follow through on the consequence.
4. Spend time together, as a family and one on one.
Make time to spend a few minutes everyday, one on one, with your children. Find activities that they enjoy (preferably without screen time) and utilize their creative minds. Read together, write a story, color, find time to connect. On that same note, bring the entire family together for family time as well, like bike rides or walks.
5. Create a consistent environment.
A big part of purposeful parenting focuses on stable environments. Children have to know what is expected of them, and what the consequences are, to succeed. Having them do daily chores is a part of that, which instills a sense of responsibility to their role in keeping the household functional.
Purposeful parenting techniques put accountability square on the child and reinforces that they are not bad, but they have the choice to make good or bad decisions.With proper boundary setting and reflection time on the difference between what is acceptable and what isn’t, parents can raise children who understand the effects of their behavior, and act accordingly. Make purposeful parenting a way of life, and not just your focus for the month of July.
What strategies do you employ with your children? Leave us your comments in the box below!