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What Is the REAL Purpose of Being a Parent?

What Is the REAL Purpose of Being a Parent?

    Mother’s Day is just around the corner, prompting us to reflect back on parents and parenting.

    If I asked you, “What is the main purpose of a parent?” I’d probably get the following responses:

    1. To be their child’s guide in life
    2. To love their child unconditionally
    3. To teach their child good values
    4. To protect their child
    5. To offer their child support through life

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    Although all of the above are important and offer a beautiful image of what a loving parent/child relationship can look like, I would like to suggest that the REAL goal of any parent should be to teach their child to become their own parent.

    We need a new generation of kids – ones who rely on themselves, who avoid emotional letdowns, who know they have skills and the ability to use them and who lead happy and fulfilled lives without needing to consult their parent (You) forever.

    How can we accomplish this? There are some specific ways that I teach, however the most powerful way is to allow our children to make choices based on how each choice makes them feel and how their choice will make others feel.

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    From as early on as possible, probably starting at around 3-4 years old, teach your child that when they make a choice – any choice at all – they should ask themselves two things:

    a. What are the consequences of this choice?
    b. Will this choice I’m making now bring happiness to me and/or those around me?

    I used to have a very large poster hanging on the wall in my classroom that read: If you make a choice you must be willing to accept the consequence of that choice.

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    I referred to this poster over and over again and it became one of our class mantras. The children became very conscious when they were about to make a choice and therefore behaviours and classroom dynamics were incredible. In addition to this, children began feeling better about themselves and more confident. Even the students who came in with a “bad kid” legacy changed. They began to see that they were in control of their lives, that they had a choice and that good choices led to positive outcomes for themselves and the others around them.

    When teaching your child how to consciously make a good choice, state the choices then say,

    “Think about the choice you are about to make. How does your body FEEL inside? Is it one of comfort or discomfort?”

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    I tell children that most people feel these sensations in their heart/chest area or in their stomach. Making this a concrete/feeling experience is the perfect way to help kids understand the concept as well as get them to connect to their inner voice more often.

    Train them to say to themselves, “If I make this choice, what happens?” If their body sends a message of comfort, that’s the right choice. If their body sends a message of discomfort, then it’s probably not the appropriate choice.

    Kids really tune into this and it makes sense to them when you put it this way. The added benefit of this is that you’re teaching your child to stop and tune into themselves – what an invaluable and forever giving gift you’ll be giving!

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    Last Updated on April 8, 2020

    Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

    Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

    Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

    Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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    Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

    However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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    The leap happens when we realize two things:

    1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
    2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

    Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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    Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

    My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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    In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

    “Assume positive intent” is definitely a top quality of life’s best practice among the people I have met so far. The reasons are obvious. It will make you feel better, your relationships will thrive and it’s an approach more greatly aligned with reality.  But less understood is how such a shift in mindset brings your professional game to a different level.

    Not only does such a shift make you more likable to your colleagues, but it also unleashes your talents further through a more focused, less distracted mind.

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    Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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