When was the last time you examined your performance as a parent? If you’re anything like me, it usually happens after an experience you regret. Maybe you lost your temper when your toddler used a sharpie on the freshly painted walls. You may not have responded with grace and mercy when you caught your child in a lie with extreme consequences. Instead of being so reactive, consider taking a proactive approach to assessing your skillset to help you be the parent you want to be.
Did you have a good relationship with your parents?
How are you like your parents?
How are you choosing to parent differently?
What are your parenting wins?
What are your struggles?
What are your top three parenting priorities? Are you and your spouse or co-parent in alignment?
What tools and resources do you use to assist you on your parenting journey? What do you need?
Do you have a network of parents you respect and admire who you can go to for advice or suggestions?
The benefit of reflecting on these questions is that they will help you be intentional about your interactions, ensure you present a united front, and enable you to create the memories you desire with your children. While creating a plan before your child arrives is ideal, it is never too late to reassess and make a new plan.
Depending on the age of your children, you can have a family meeting to assess your job. While it may be difficult to hear, you would model for your children the importance of receiving constructive feedback; you would listen to how your child perceives the same experiences. It may also offer an opportunity to apologize for past interactions, heal, and enhance your relationship.
One way to have this conversation is to ask each family member to write down the top 10 experiences for the year and rate each on a scale of 1-5. Alternatively, you can give everyone the same ten experiences and ask them to rate them. You may need to go back longer than a year. If there is past trauma that either of you are struggling with, you may need to seek therapy to help you move on. Making an effort now to ensure your child feels secure, valued and heard can go a long way towards healing. After the initial meeting or meetings, you could have a quarterly or semiannual check-in with your family to help you remain on track.