Create Your Parenting Vision
By Vickie Falcone
What’s your highest vision of yourself as a parent? To be loving, understanding, and wise? Do you long for connection, yet meet with disappointment instead? During the past 20 years offering parenting classes to thousands of parents and caregivers, I’ve learned a great truth: We all want the same things:
- A close, connected relationship with our children.
- Joyful interactions with our family.
- Children who feel capable, happy, and self-confident.
- To parent as a loving, supportive team with our partner or spouse.
- Feeling good about the way we parent.
When we parent with only short-term goals in mind: to get the kids to clean their rooms or to make it through the grocery store without buying a toy, it’s easy to lose sight of our long-term goals of raising happy, healthy, confident children. I find it is helpful to be powerfully reminded of the end result of your minute-to-minute decisions.
It is so helpful to be reminded of our big picture goals that I developed a visualization called Fast Forward to help you create a picture that you can hold as you make your parenting choices.
Fast Forward Exercise
Fast forward your life to a future scene. Your child, now 19, has just arrived home from college to join you for Thanksgiving (if you have more than one child, picture the child who challenges you the most). As you take your seat among friends and family at the dinner table, your 19-year-old clinks a glass to get everyone’s attention, stands, and begins to give a speech in your honor. You feel overwhelmed with the feelings of connectedness, joy, and pride as you hear your child express his/her deep gratitude for the wonderful parent you have been.
On a piece of paper write your child’s speech—the speech you would like to hear. Be as specific as possible, listing in detail the circumstances that created closeness between you and your child. Let your imagination go wild. Do not limit yourself by what you think is possible—write the dream.
Use this exercise as a way to set your intention for how you want to raise your children, and let this bigger intention guide your daily actions and provide you with the motivation to change. If you feel like you did not receive the qualities that you want to pass on to your children, do not despair. One of the grand possibilities of parenthood is that we have the chance to experience gifts like unconditional love, being heard, connection and freedom when we give them to our child.
The Power Of One Small Step
Once you have identified your parenting intentions, it’s time to bring those intentions to your parenting interactions. For example, if you wrote down that you want to be more calm and centered, identify one small action step you could take to bring more calm to your very next communication with your child.
The next time your children are fighting or resist going to bed, take a moment to pause and ask yourself, “What do I want in this situation…and how does it mesh with my parenting long-term vision?” Too often we jump into circumstances, forgetting our ultimate goal. Our lack of clarity is usually the reason we don’t get what we want out of life. When we get clear, whether about our life goal or what our child can eat for lunch, we greatly increase our chances of attracting what we long for. Allow your future vision of your child to guide you.