By Doug and Cathy Fields
Let’s begin with some truth-telling: Parenting is difficult!
Yes, it’s hard. But what you do as a parent every day and every week matters. Your actions–over time–are the single greatest influence in the life of your child.
Still, many parents wind up relying on quick fixes as a parenting style. Simply put, parenting becomes about fixing kids’ problem behaviors or the agony parents experience because of these behaviors. Parents use quick fixes to achieve some short-term wins–to fix current problems–but over time the strategy falls and fails because there is no connection to a long-term purpose and no intent to lead a child from Point A to Point B. Using quick fixes to solve problems do not help kids grow up to become healthy and independent young adults.
We’d like to suggest a better way: you can become an exceptional parent when you choose to be an intentional parent.
Look, the clock is ticking. Your kids are growing up. Time matters. From your child’s birth to her 18th birthday there are only 936 weeks. That’s all the time you have. Tick-tock, tick-tock. The brevity of this timespan requires you to become an intentional parent if you want to take advantage of the God-given opportunity He has given you to maximize the influence you have with your child.
We didn’t do everything right as parents, and you won’t either. But we made the choice to fight against Quick-Fix Parenting in order to become Intentional Parents. And along the way, we discovered 10 intentional actions that are key to becoming intentional parents.
1) Intentional parents have strong belief. Intentional parents believe that they are the most significant influence on their children.
2) Intentional parents understand they are 24/7 role models. They make a deliberate choice to be vigilant about the examples they set for their kids by how they live their lives.
3) Intentional parents use encouraging words. Encouraging words are positive, life-giving, powerful, and memorable. They are like food for your child’s soul.
4) Intentional parents offer genuine affection. Appropriate and regular physical affection gives kids more security, better self-esteem, and healthier emotional balance.
5) Intentional parents provide consistent presence. They plan, strategize, and sacrifice in order to be present in the lives of their kids.
6) Intentional parents create a peaceful home. A peaceful home is a safe home, giving kids a shelter from the storms of life.
7) Intentional parents use delicate discipline. Discipline and love go together; they provide kids with needed guidance, care, and concern.
8) Intentional parents activate responsibility. They provide opportunities for their children to develop responsibility and pursue healthy independence.
9) Intentional parents create positive memories. For better or for worse, your kids will carry family memories into adulthood. Intentional parents pursue a path to ensure kids will have a flood of positive memories.
10) Intentional parents provide serious fun. They work to nurture and model a home environment where laughter and fun is the rule, not the exception.
Doug and Cathy have a resource to help parents dig deeper into the important topic of becoming intentional parents. Find their Intentional Parenting DVD and Workbook in the HomeWord store by clicking here.