How To Make Better Parenting Decisions
Take a guess…
What’s the #1 question I get from Modern Parents – from both my private clients as well as from those who read my blog posts and other online articles?
Answer = Am I doing X right?
X stands for any parenting dilemma that Modern Parents deal with on a daily basis.
Am I being strict enough as a parent?
Am I too lenient?
Did I handle the situation “correctly”?
Excellent question! I used to struggle with those same questions myself.
Most Modern Parents are very invested in raising great kids – not good kids, but great kids – and this devotion to parenting “right” has put a lot of pressure on parents. Unfortunately, this self-imposed pressure to parent “the right way” leads to unnecessary stress, unhappiness, and self-doubt.
What if I told you that there is a way to parent that leaves you feeling confident and proud of your parenting decisions? What if I also told you that this parenting plan gives you the guidelines needed to raise great kids based upon your individual morals and beliefs – not just those that are popular with society right now.
There is no reason why you can’t put a plan into place today that enables you to parent with confidence according to your personal morals and values, with the result of raising phenomenal kids and experiencing contentment and satisfaction in the process.
I am going to share with you my #1 go-to resource that has helped countless Modern Parents that I work with become happier and more satisfied with their family lives – my Ultimate Guide To Making Better Parenting Decisions.
Because this plan is so popular with my clients, I took the time to create a 10-page workbook for you and wrote this 3,000 word, step-by-step article detailing how to put this plan in place today – and start enjoying your family immediately.
First, start by downloading the free “Ultimate Guide To Making Better Decisions” workbook that I created for you and follow along in this step-by-step guide on how to begin making more effective decisions as a parent. I explain everything you need to know in this article for you to begin creating your dream family today.
Your Parenting “Roadmap”
The Plan you are about to create will provide you with a “roadmap” to follow when making all of your parenting decisions.
The Biggest Mistake That I See Parents Make
The biggest mistake I see parents make every day is when they make parenting decisions based upon emotions. Think about it – do you make parenting decisions during an emotional moment with your child, but then you regret that decision later when you have calmed down? For example, do you tend to give in to your child when you get into an argument with them, just because you want the argument to stop? Or maybe you punish your child too harshly by taking away too many privileges all at once or for too long of a period of time just because your child made you mad? When situations like this happen, it is because the parent involved did not know what to do in the moment. Furthermore, psychological studies have shown over and over again that we do not make good decisions during emotional situations. Therefore, the only way to ensure that you will make good parenting decisions during emotional moments that you will be proud of is to plan in advance how you are going to react. You can begin this process by taking the time to read this entire article and to complete the downloadable workbook that I created for you.
**Note: the following instructions work best when used in conjunction with the free workbook that I created for you. Click on the link below, enter your email address when prompted, and then I will send you the PDF workbook instantly to your email inbox. **
Step 1: Identify your personal passions, values, and beliefs (PVBs)
The first step in starting your Parenting Plan is to develop a clear understanding of your personal “moral compass.” This is what will give you confidence in your parenting decisions.
You used to make reactive parenting decisions, but after creating your Parenting Plan, you will make decisions according to your personal Passions, Values, and Beliefs (PVBs).
You now have a clear and good reason for making tough parenting decisions. You will find that this naturally gives you more confidence during difficult parenting situations.
For example, maybe you used to give in to your child when they pleaded with you over and over again for something. Now, after creating your Parenting Plan, you will remember the reason why you should say no (because it is based on your PVBs) and this gives you the courage and fortitude needed to continue to say no.
In the past, giving in to your child benefited you both in the short run because you both got what you wanted (your child got their “thing” and you got the argument stopped). However, parenting according to your Parenting Plan benefits both you and your child in the long run, which is more important.
So what are passions, values, and beliefs exactly?
NOTE: As you read each explanation for passions, values, and beliefs, write down your answers in the workbook.
Passions: Passions are a strong or enthusiastic desire for something. Our passions are the fuel that drive us to being interesting, great people. They inspire us to get up out of bed and keep going. Without passion, we do not have a reason to work hard and keep going when parenting gets tough.
Some example of life passions are:
- Passion for people (i,e, helping people or being very social)
- Passion for hobbies
- Passions for learning
- Passion for life
Each individual can be passionate about different things – and that’s OK! You can have multiple passions and some of your passions can be more “fun” than “noble.”
For example, most f my family and friends know that i am pretty passionate about cars (especially Porsches!). I’ve been interested in cars since I was a little girl. Therefore, I attend car shows on a regular basis and read online blogs about Porsches. My passion for cars at times guides how I choose to spend my leisure time.
Values: Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live. Your values help guide how you prioritize the way you spend your time.
For a complete list of values, Steve Pavlina provides a very comprehensive list.
For example, if you are passionate about helping those less fortunate than yourself and you value altruism, then you will prioritize spending regular time volunteering at your local charity.
Here’s another example. Let’s say that one of your passions is baseball and that you value spending quality time with your family. Therefore, you might prioritize spending your time and family money on attending the local baseball team games on the weekends in the summer with your family.
See how your passions and values work together to help guide the way you live?
Now let’s see how our beliefs fit in to the Parenting Plan.
Beliefs: Beliefs are judgements about yourself and the world around you. Your beliefs develop over time and are influenced by a variety of factors such as your past experiences, your social circle, and/or your religion.
Beliefs are important because when you believe in something, you become committed to it. For example, some people believe eating meat products is ethically wrong and commit to a vegetarian lifestyle. You might believe that being a kind person is the right way to live and commit to treating others as kindly as possible every chance you get.
I hope I have shown you how your passions, values, and beliefs all work together to provide a framework that can be a successful guide in helping you make the best parenting decisions possible.
What happens when the way that you live your life does not align with your PVBs? Most parents don’t put in the time to think about their PVBs, and when they don’t have a clear idea of their PVBs , they reactively parent instead of intentionally parent.
These parents feel:
- Dissatisfied with their family
- Dissatisfied with their lives
- They feel like they want to give up.
When you live your life according to your personal PVBs, you become happier, more confident, and more satisfied with your own life.
Now that you have identified your PVBs, how do you communicate them to your family? How does this inspire change and/or improvement in your family? Keep reading, because we tackle that in the next step.
Step 2: Identify how you plan to raise your kids according to your PVBs
Now that you have identified your PVBs, take a minute to plan out how you plan to raise your kids using your PVBs. There are 3 ways you can communicate your PVBs to your family: by living it, speaking it, and encouraging it.
NOTE: Continue to write your answers in your workbook as you complete this step.
Live it: Psychological studies show that kids learn more through what we do than through what we say. Take a minute to write down in the workbook how you plan on modeling your PVBs in your everyday life.
For example, if your PVBs involve prioritizing quality time on Friday nights with your family over work commitments and social commitments, then consistently turn down all other invitations to spend time outside of the home on Friday night.
When you consistently with live according to your PVBs, your family comes to understand how important your PVBs are to you and they begin to live by them as well.
Speak it: Now think about (and write down in the workbook) how you plan on teaching your PVBs.
For example, if we go back to our example of prioritizing family time on Friday nights, think about how you will tell your kids “no” when they ask to go to a friend’s house on Friday night. Remember to include your reason why. A good explanation might be, “You can go to your friend’s house on Saturday night, but Friday nights are a special time when we bond as a family together and it is a very important time for our family.”
Encourage it: Once you start seeing your family members behave according to your PVBs, it’s important to reinforce their behavior so that they continue behaving this way.
A good way to do this is to smile, say some encouraging words, or even give your family members a hug when you see them living according to the PVBs.
In addition, you want to think about how you will encourage your older children to develop their own PVBs. More than likely, they will adopt some (or most) of your PVBs, but they also need to develop their own set of personal guidelines. By teaching them why your PVBs are important to you, they will begin to understand how to develop their own PVBs.
Step 3: Identify Your Family’s Strengths
The next step is to identify what is already working with your family – you don’t want to fix something that isn’t broken!
Ask yourself the following questions and then write your answers in the workbook:
- What do I like about my family?
- When are you happy with your family?
- How is your family unique?
- What do people compliment about your family?
Every family has its own unique strengths and weaknesses and I want you to appreciate your family’s strengths. I’m also willing to bet that the things that you like about your family align with your PVBs.
This is why taking the time to identify your PVBs is so important! When we live our lives using our PVBs as a guide, we become much happier people.
NOTE: Haven’t yet gotten your Parenting Plan workbook? Click on the button below to get your free copy.
Step 4: Identify Your Family’s Weaknesses
Now that you have identified your family’s strengths, it’s time to identify its weaknesses. These are the areas where you would like to inspire change. Ask yourself the following questions and note them in the workbook:
- When do I feel frustrated with my family?
- When am I most unhappy when spending time with my family?
- What would I like to change about my family?
Even good families have areas that can improve so don’t feel bad if you come up with several “wish list” items that you would like to improve about your family. Also, think about how these areas that you would like to change relate to your PVBs – do they align with your PVBs? My guess is that they don’t – so in the next step, I tell you how to make these areas align with your PVBs so that you are happy with your family again.
Step 5: Action Step: Turn Your Family’s Weaknesses Into Strengths By Aligning Them With Your PVBs
In this step, you will start by choosing one weakness to turn into a strength. When you have successfully changed that weakness into a strength, then start with the next weakness that you identified on you list – but it’s important that you only work on inspiring change with one behavior at a time (and note that it could take several weeks to months for long-term behavior change).
**Note: write down the following answer in your workbook.**
What: For the best results, write down the specific behavior that you would like to change about your family. For example, saying that you want your family to “be closer” is not specific enough. A better goal would be to aim for having your family spend one evening a week together (see how this is a specific behavior but it incorporates the feeling that you want?).
Why: Next, write down why changing this behavior is important for you and your family. Use one of your PVBs to justify why you are committing to the hard work necessary to inspire change in your family. You will need to refer back to this “why” when inspiring change in your family gets tough – and you will go through difficult patches. Studies have shown that people are more likely to stick to a difficult task when they are able to recall a meaningful reason behind performing the task.
List exact steps: In your workbook, list the steps you resolve to take to inspire change in your family’s behavior. For instance, in keeping with the family time example, the specific steps in carrying out this behavior change plan might be the following:
- Get spouse/partner on board with the family behavior change
- Communicate that every Friday night the family will eat dinner together and engage in an activity together
- Each family member will take turns in deciding the family activity
- If the kids ask to go to a friends house, you will say “You can go on Saturday, but Friday nights are special to our family so the answer is no.” You will commit to doing this every time.
- If your child has a bad attitude about family time, the consequences will be that they will be grounded from their social activities for 2 weeks.
- I will reinforce good attitudes during family time through smiles, hugs, letting the kids stay up later, and compliments.
This is just an example for you to see how specific you need to be with your plan. Be sure to have a plan for rewards and consequences. It is also very important that you communicate the complete plan to your entire family.
Step 6: Identify your support team
Step 6 and 7 is all about supporting you in your goal of improving your family. You are not only important as a parent, but you matter as an individual too. There will be difficult times on the road to improving your family and you need a support team of people who care about you and who are willing to have your back. In the workbook, write down as many people as possible who you can go to for help. It also helps to write down how they can help you. Some people are great at listening, while other people are great for giving out advice.
Step 7: Identify your coping skills
Finally, the last step is about identifying your personal coping skills. How are you going to remain motivated, calm, and in control during the tough times? In the workbook, write down your current coping skills and identify 2-3 other ways that you can use. For a list of 99 coping skills, you can check out this website.
Take Home Message
You made it! You’ve completed the Parenting Plan! Now, you just need to put the plan into action. Remember that consistency is the key when starting a new plan of action. Be sure to give the plan appropriate time to work – and it could take before you see any improvement in your family.
So many of my clients have reported to me that they experienced immediate feelings of happiness, satisfaction, and competency just by creating their Parenting Plan. This makes sense – once you understand how to make smart parenting decisions using your PVBs, you immediately feel more in control of your life.
If you enjoyed this article and would like more Modern Parenting resources from Dr. Becca, you might want to consider signing up for the weekly newsletter.
Finally, the Parenting Plan with other parents you know. It can be downloaded, copied, and printed for use in parenting groups, Church groups, and school meetings. This is a free resources so feel free to pass it around to other parents.
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