I’m pretty sure every parent wants to be a good parent and raise a happy kid. How best to make that happen?
While everyone’s priorities, values and ideas on child rearing are going to be different, there’s a philosophy of parenting known as “active parenting” that can position you for success with your kids.
Being an active parent means being there for your child and being there with your child.
At the heart of successful relationships are expectations. When people’s expectations are met, we’re satisfied. When they’re not, we’re dissatisfied. This is true of the parent child relationship, and a core tenant of active parenting are proper expectations.
In this post, I’m going to talk about four key things
- Principles of active parenting
- The role of the parent in active parenting
- The role of the child in active parenting
- How to incorporate active parenting into your household
Principles of active parenting
While you could make additions to this list, here are 10 of the key principles behind active parenting. I encourage you to think about and adopt your own set of principles for your family.
Give your love unconditionally. It’s important for your children to know that you love them in good and bad behavior, and that you’ll be there for them no matter what.
Our actions matter. Teach your kids there are consequences to actions and to understand the impact they have on themselves and others.
Be engaged. Our undivided attention is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children.
Be adaptive. Being an effective parent requires we change as our children grow and develop.
Be clear on rules and expectations. We get what we tolerate, so being clear in what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior is essential.
Foster autonomy and independence. You’re responsible to your children, but not for them. Preparing them for adulthood is a primary goal.
We are a family. Everyone is a valued and contributing member and expected to fulfill expectations.
Be consistent. Making expectations clear and being consistent with enforcement and of rewards is essential.
Be firm, but fair. Punishment and intervention are important and should be applied consistently.
Show kindness and respect. Just as we want our children to be kind and respectful to others, we need to treat them accordingly.
The role of the parent
As you clarify and crystalize the principles that are most aligned with you and your parenting style, here are some thoughts on the role the parent plays in active parenting.
Leader, not best friend. It’s your responsibility to set expectations and hold your children accountable.
Act with courage and commitment everyday. Being a leader requires hard work, discipline and for you to show up consistently.
Be adaptable and learn. The parent you are today will not be the parent you are in the future; embrace new learnings and focus your attention where it’s needed most.
The role of the child
Children are amazing. They experience new things everyday and handle it remarkably well (most of the time).
Be a child. It’s a child’s job to have fun, push boundaries, try, make mistakes and learn.
Be a member of your family. While they are children, they are also a member of your household and they need to do what is expected of them.
Do their best. There’s an important distinction between being their best, and doing their best.
How to do it in your household
People resist systems and structure because it’s hard to get started. While that may be true, it’s only true early on. Jets require a lot of fuel at takeoff, and considerably less fuel for the duration of the flight. Understand that putting systems and structures in place will take effort, but it’s much easier to maintain moving forward.
Think about, decide on and make clear your rules and expectations. Once you’ve decided, put them into effect and hold your kids accountable to them. Enforce them consistently and fairly. Recognize them for doing a good job meeting them.
Calendaring/scheduling. The more things you can systematize and schedule, the better. For example, have a set time for meals, homework, playtime and bedtime. Again, it will be hard work getting your routines set up, but once set up, they will make life easier and better.
Constant communication and adaptation. As lives change, our routines, habits, and expectations will also change. Be clear and explain why changes are happening and what will be different.
Success as a parent has a lot to do with intention. Setting your intention to be an active parent and work hard to raise a happy kid is a wonderful first step in your journey to success.
If you’ve been a parent for a little while, you understand mistakes will be made and you’ll wish you could go back in time and do things differently; something all parents experience. Being an active parent doesn’t mean being a perfect parent. It simply means you’re going to do your best to position your kid for success.
We’ve had some great parenting experts as guests on the LifeBlood podcast
- Good Parenting with Dr. Marcie Beigel
- Stop Yelling at your Kids with Celia Kibler
- Kids and Money with Anna Jackson
- Teaching Kids About Money with Dean Brauer
- Teaching Kids to Buy Stocks with JJ Wenrich
- Kids and Money with Gregg Murset
- Kids and Money with Benny Nachman
- Teaching Kids About Money with Mac Gardner
- Teaching Kids About Money with Sam Renick
If you’d like a resource to help your kids learn about money, check out our Teaching Kids About Money course.
Here’s to happy kids!