Monday, August 2

Intentionality in Parenting

Today I wanted to share a few more thoughts from the book I am reading, Living with Less so Your Family has More by Jill Savage (in my last post, I shared some thoughts on this book). The second chapter is titled “Redefining More,” and Jill shares some ideas of what “more” looks like. One particular section stood out to me on parenting, and I thought it was worth sharing.

More energy and intentionality for parenting

Kids need more than a present parent; they need an intentional parent. And intentionality takes an enormous amount of energy. An intentional parent has a vision for how they want to see their grown-up children living their lives. The intentional parent makes deliberate decisions because of their farsightedness, their vision.

Both of us grew up in very different family environments. When we started our family, our expectations of what parenting should or should not look like created more conflict between us than we liked. It wasn’t until we took a parenting course through our church that we finally found ourselves sharing a vision for our family. No longer battling one another, we valued the same strategies and were working toward the same goals. The unity was refreshing and empowering.

When we’re stretched too thin, our parenting is negatively affected and we can sometimes unintentionally step into some ineffective parenting styles. Child-centered parenting often comes out of the guilt we experience when we have limited time with the child. We hate to take any time away from them either to take care of ourselves or to take care of our marriage. However, when our whole world revolves around our child, it’s not healthy for us or for them.

Permissive parenting happens when we lack the energy to be consistent. It also happens when we feel we have so little time with our kids that we hate to use that time to correct them. We overlook misbehavior in an effort to keep the peace and not ruin the moment.

Authoritarian parenting happens when we lack the time or emotional capacity to be patient, loving, and consistent in our direction and discipline. Authoritarian parents motivate with anger and produce obedience by fear. Because love feels conditional, children of authoritarian parents often equate success in school or sorts with love.

Children do need authority in their lives. Understanding boundaries and having those boundaries enforced contributes to their sense of security. Children thrive under authoritative-not authoritarian-parenting. This is when a parent develops a close and nurturing relationship with their children while keeping a balance of expectations, rules and guidelines. Authoritative parenting takes energy and intentionality and it is a “more” that every child needs.

I think I liked this section so much because it is a good reminder that parenting is hard and takes our energy. I need to be intentional about how I spend my time and energy each day so that I have enough to parent my children. After all I was the one who chose to have children in the first place.

I also really liked the ides of being intentional and looking at the big picture. I think that is the best way to parent…with the end in mind. (I think I need to add that while there are no guarantees in parenting, meaning that if I do all the right things my girls will turn out just the way I hope, I do believe it is my job to do the very best job I can with these little ones God has entrusted to me). I want to give my girls every advantage I can. I believe that is what God wants from each of us…to do our best with those gifts he has given us.

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