There has been much attention in the media of late on the transformation of families, Dr Phil’s Phenomenal Family Series and Super Nanny to name a few. I recently had the pleasure of being featured on a radio program, Coaching Corners in New York in which I spoke about creating your dream family by becoming the parent you want to be. Many parents have this hope but do not know where to begin and how to get there. Others know what to do but get side tracked; finding their present state of their family is far from what they want it to be. I hope this article will help those who are new parents create your dream family and those seeking to transform your family. I want to make parenting easier, more meaningful and encourage parents in their efforts withthe following four principles.
First, create your vision of your dream family.
Look beyond the immediate behavior or situation seeking to be changed. Rather than focus on quick solutions, consider the big picture. The big picture reflects the long term or the more important values you are trying to make an impact upon. Corporations and businesses find they are more successful with a vision and mission statement to guide the daily efforts of their leaders and teams. You are leading your family toward a vision.
Here are questions to consider in creating your vision. What are your values and greatest desires for your family? Who are your parent role models and mentors? What families do you aspire to be like? What is your definition of success and happiness for your family? What experiences from childhood do you want to bring or not to your parenting? When considering your vision, you want to capture the essence of what you value and want to create.
Some examples of possible family visions include:
1. To teach and influence my children to be generous in spirit, have a contribution to make and become responsible citizens.
2. I want my home to be a safe haven, a place of laughter and fun in which my children want to be home and the neighborhood children feel welcome.
3. I want to create a family which values learning and curiosity and celebration of one’s uniqueness.
The above 3 combined can be one family’s vision statement. It is important to note, one’s vision and values are not to be judged. There are different versions of success and happiness.
Second, change yourself and you will have influence over the destiny of your family. You can influence the outcome of your child’s self-esteem, behaviors, and values through your relationship, approach and modeling. Pay attention to how your communication, discipline methods, use of family time, habits and routines, and activities supports your vision. Many parents seek help with discipline issues. One of the most common errors a parent makes is in focusing on the wished for outcome. It is easy to get attached to the outcome of your efforts. The more attached to needing your child to change, the more likely to become frustrated and unwilling to stay focused on you. So instead, as you approach your child’s behavior and discipline I suggest you 1)be very clear and focused on what you want to create (rather than stop), 2)let go of needing your children to be different, 3)recognize and change your own behavior which interferes, and 4)have faith and patience with the process.
Third, one size does not fit all.
Over the course of my 18 year career working with families, many parents have sought my services to deal with problem behavior hoping to find the ‘right’ strategy to ‘cure’ the behavior of their child. There are some strategies suited for some parents and some to others. Parents sift through many books seeking to find the answer. Some books conflict with others, some walk you through each step with what to expect and how to respond. It can seem overwhelming and confusing.
Instead of searching for the ‘right’ way to raise your children, you can: Experiment with approaches which seem in line with your philosophy Explore new possibilities, be creative Grow along with your children, learning from mistakes, being willing to struggle Use your unique strengths and skills Pay attention to your intuition
When you keep the big picture in mind, the choice of parenting strategy will become apparent to you. In other words, have a vision and your approach will follow hence making parenting easier and more meaningful.
Fourth, change necessary areas of your life to support your family vision. You can make your family a priority without losing yourself or your marriage in the process. Staying on track with your parenting efforts can be supported by other areas of your life. Example areas to keep in check:
Health and well being.
If you are exhausted, you will get in the way of your dream becoming reality. Adequate sleep and leisure time for self are essential. In order to take care of yourself, admit you cannot do it all, acknowledge your struggles, and accept your own limitations. Even, ask for help!
Marital and co-parenting relationship.
It is very important you share a similar vision and approach to parenting. Notice what you each contribute that may be different but equally valued. Give time to yourselves as a couple. Ah, the famous last words, “Remember, when we used to…”
Yes, you can seek financial/professional and family success together. It may be necessary to reevaluate the intent of your financial and work related goals if it is interfering with your family vision.
Create Your Dream Family TELECLASS Begins May 11th. Two classes offered, 11:00am and 12:00pm Go to www.baystatecoaching.com for details on class and registration. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Martelli of Baystate Coaching is a Personal and Career Coach with 18 years experience as a psychotherapist. She provides ongoing one-on-one coaching via telephone and also offers teleclasses, and workshops on location.