The Why of Parenting
Here we are — new year, new you time. I consider this early part of the year, truly “The most wonderful time of the year.” It is when all of us are afforded the chance to hit the reset button on our lives. It is a time to set new goals, review old ones, and resolve to do better, be better, and look better.
One of my goals for 2015 is to be a better father for my two precious gifts. Perhaps this is one of your goals as well. I think it is a great and noble thing to desire to be a better parent, but don’t you think that goal is a little vague? It’s sort of like saying, “I want to lose weight” without putting a specific poundage to it.
To achieve any goal, especially one as important as this one, we must take the time to make it as specific as possible. What does being a “better parent” really mean? What characteristics does a “better parent” display? Well, for me, it centers around being less reactive and more connected. My guess is, since you’re reading a blog post on a site called ScreamFree.com, you share this sentiment.
Though specificity is key, there’s something even more critical if we are going to inch ever closer to our goal of becoming ScreamFree this year: we must determine why we want this in the first place. Why do I want to be a ScreamFree parent?
We must begin with why, for it will define what we do and how we do it in our continuous pursuit of becoming ScreamFree.
Unless we establish a strong enough why, we fall prey to frustration when our new parenting mindset fails to work in the moment. Sometimes what we do won’t be received in a ScreamFree way by our kids. Sometimes our calm may seem to provoke our child’s reactivity. When this happens, what will we do? When we are stressed out at work and that stress is met by more stress when we get home—what then?
My hope is that instead of returning to the reactive ways of the past, we can focus on the principles of the present — the principles that are defined by our why.
So, let’s answer that all-important question—why do you want to be a ScreamFree parent in 2015?
For me personally, I have seen the effects of my own emotional reactivity in years past. I didn’t like how I felt about myself, nor did I like how my kids felt as a result. I saw for myself how reactivity is a thief of hope and an enemy of grace. It produces fear and anger in whomever it is unleashed upon.
I don’t want that in my house anymore.
That’s my why.
Maybe your why has to do with not having your child experience the reactivity that was present in your childhood, or, like me, you’ve lost it as well and didn’t feel right about it. Perhaps the screaming and yelling in your home has become far more severe than you would even like to admit, and you know it’s got to stop before it potentially escalates into something worse.
Whatever your why is, embrace it. It may be the catalyst to you taking a big step in your parenting journey.
When I think back to the times when I have freaked out and lost it, it stirs up an emotion within me that I don’t like. It is this pain to which I never want to return. Even though I realize there may be times when I stumble and fall, I know that I can always return to my well-defined reason.
I can always return to my why. You can, too.
As our children age, we will be presented with different challenges as we walk with them through life. What we do to remain ScreamFree and how we do it will likely need to evolve. The why, however, is constant.
It is our guiding principle to help shape the type of parent we want to be this year and into the future.