The title is a bit of a misnomer since there is no manual on parenting. Well there are but I can’t say that any one book or person can tell you everything about parenting your own child. Each family is different and every child requires a unique parenting style. Even within one family you could use different techniques for different children. The problem is that we don’t all have several tricks up our sleeves or know what to try next when our usual parenting style isn’t working.
If you are a parent then I’m sure you’ve been in a place of self doubt at some point. We all want to do our best for our children. When you first held your child in your arms, I’m sure you did not envision sleepless nights, piles of homework, and fights over too much screen time. You probably pictured spending quality time with your child and activities that brought joy to both your lives.
So how does reality start to vary so much from your dreams? Making the choice in how to response to your child is hard when it’s dinner time and everyone is hungry (including you) and your child starts to have a meltdown. Instead living the dream you end up trying to keep it all together. Most parents spend a lot of time making sure the needs of everyone are met: do they have food, clean clothes, school work done, etc. So time for fun becomes lost in the shuffle. That’s why so many people want a guide tell them what to do. How to get back to the picture of parenting that seems joyful instead of stressful. It’s hard but not as hard as it sounds. It just takes some time and a clear plan on how to get there.
Parenting 101 is just a way of saying where do I start? What’s the first step in bringing joy back into parenting? Well here is one way of breaking it into manageable steps:
1. The first step in making the changes you want in your life and the life of your family is really defining what is important to you. If you are struggling with quality time with your loved ones, then that would be the priority.
2. After defining what it is important to you, the next step is coming up with a goal.The goal you come up with must be something that is achievable and works for you. If you set a goal of 3 hours of quality time per day with your children but in reality you only have one hour of time to spend, then your plan will fail.
3. Once you have a goal, you must make a plan on how to get there. Finding the right person for support is key. That person can help you come up with the plan and make sure that when you run into bumps in the road you have help.
4. Beyond creating a realistic goal and plan you must be given the tools for how to make it succeed. You may come up with a plan but have no idea on how to make it work. This is where that support person comes into play. This person should be someone with experience in that area and an ability to be available to you to provide support along the way.
Using these steps to start making meaningful changes at home will lead to better results. The best result is when you start experiencing more periods of joy in your parenting.