What is the Goal of Parenting?
What is the outcome we hope to achieve as we raise our children? Some may answer that they want their children “to grow up and live a happy and fulfilling life”. What does that mean exactly and how does that happen? We may say we want them to have a job they enjoy and support themselves and develop relationships with others, maybe get married and have a family. I know that these are not the only goals we have for our children but it is a start, let’s break these goals down even more.
The first goal is to have a job that they enjoy. How does this happen? Well they won’t get their dream job from the start, they have to work up to it. In order for our children to be able to do this they have to know how to persevere though some hard challenges, maybe schooling or some less desirable jobs and work up to the dream job.
So as a parent we have to teach them how to work through things that are tough to get to their goal. This means letting them struggle and possibly fail. Allowing them to experience a struggle teaches them coping skills. Don’t do everything for them, don’t make the road too easy and don’t bail them out when hardship comes and or give them everything they need so they are unmotivated to work. As a parent this may be hard, living through their challenges with them and teaching them as they go is one way that they will learn to persevere.
The second goal would be for our children to learn to have healthy relationships. In terms of a job our child needs to learn to take instruction and respect authority. Taking instruction without feeling like a failure or getting defensive can be learned. When we instruct or correct our children it is an opportunity to help them cope with frustration and imperfection. We also need to teach our children to respect authority and listen well. One way to teach this is by requiring them to respect you as the authority and to listen.
Inter-personal relationships are also important. Your son or daughter will not attract healthy friends or a spouse unless they know how to treat others. How to show others respect and care. How to be compassionate and communicate with understanding. One way you can teach this is through role modeling. How do you as a parent treat others? Are you respectful and compassionate? Do you treat your child in that way? Do they know what it feels like to be heard, validated and shown respect? Being a clear, caring communicator is a skill that will help them develop positive relationships.
Parenting is too important of a job to “just wing it”, in order to achieve your goal of raising children “to grow up and live a happy and fulfilling life” it will take thought and effort.
Written by Lisa Strong