Wednesday, January 13, 2010

day fourteen: practice “proactive parenting”

“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.”
                                                    Winnie the Pooh

In our books, workshops, and articles, we describe three types or aspects of parenting:

1. Corrective Parenting--which includes (a) consequences for character training and (b) punishment for disobedience and disrespect

2. Affirmative Parenting--which is what much of this blog is about—it includes relationship building; developing family unity; having fun with your children; giving your kids a healthy, Christ-centered self esteem, etc.

3. Proactive Parenting--which, in a nutshell, is warding off problems before they develop

Proactive Parenting, as we define it, could also be titled “Organizational Parenting.” The quote above by A A Milne sums it up. Proactive Parenting is all of the things you do “ahead of time” so that when you do things (i.e. live life with your children), “it isn’t all mixed up.”

In other words, plan ahead a little through pre-teaching, explaining expectations, household organization, character training before it is needed in action, and more—and you have just parented “proactively”—you have parented in such a way as to prevent problems that are not necessary.

We will be discussing Proactive Parenting in this blog dozens of times throughout this year. I will give you a short list today to get you thinking about it, though each of these items will be posts in themselves, so check us out often!

1. Explain expectations ahead of time—adults do not like to work in situations in which the expectations are not clearly laid out, and children are no different. This is our number one Proactive Parenting strategy—and is one that we have used our entire twenty-seven years of parenting and still use on at least a weekly basis, though we often use this daily.

2. Discuss character all the time—what is acceptable behavior for your family members? How should a son or daughter behave in various situations?

3. Follow schedules that provide predictability and stability—this is especially crucial for young children, but even adults and teens function better when they know what a day will hold.

4. Create chore charts, morning routine charts, after school charts, menus, cleaning plans, etc., so that your children have visual reminders of their responsibilities,

5. Develop routines for weekday mornings, after school, and any time in which it is important that the same things happen over and over (i.e. dressed, teeth brushed, pj’s away, bed made, morning reading, etc.) and prioritize these over “extra” activities. (Get to the place where you "Delight in Dailies"--then teach your children how to "Delight in Dailies" too!)

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