Are you parenting for the short term, or long term?

Are you confused by my question?

Let me clarify.

If I were to ask you, “What are your hopes and dreams for your child?”

You would likely answer something along the lines of, to be happy and confident, to have a loving partner and family, a job or work that fulfills them, to explore the world, to take on challenges, to cure cancer or be the first Australian President.

I don’t imagine too many of you would say, stick with a job they hate, because they are too scared to try something new, stay in an unhealthy relationship because they never know if they’ll find someone else who will love them. Don’t go anywhere, just stay living at home where I can cook and clean for them forever!…

When we take a step back and look at the humans we are guiding and growing in this world, and ask ourselves; how will we create the first result, our parenting strategies will change.

Play the smart parent game, what will give me the long term results I am looking for?

If I want my children to be confident, to try new things, to get back up and try again when things go wrong; because if you are trying new things, at some time, things will go wrong.  Then what do I need to do now that will facilitate that?

If I want them to be problem solvers, creators, adventures, trailblazers, then what can I do as their parent that will encourage that?

If I want my children to be loving, compassionate, connected to family, friends and their community and have an understanding of the global context we live in. Then what are the discussions I will have with them, how will I model that?

I watched a clip from the project last night where school principal Tim Berryman discussed the contrast from his childhood, where he took himself to cricket practice or a mates place, to now, where children are driven everywhere. This plays into this discussion.

How do we teach our children to be confident, capable, creative and kind human beings?

3 Things you can do this weekend to parent for the long term:

  1. Find a way to encourage some independent activities, like a walk or ride to the park or a friends house, of course, this is not for a 2-year-old, but if your child is 8, this could be an option.
  2. Take time to talk about how your child’s feeling, and accept that all feelings a real and valid. You might not always understand why your child feels a certain way, but not arguing and disagreeing and just accepting their feelings goes a long way to helping them to express them.
  3. Resist the urge to rescue or solve a problem your child encounters, instead, take an interest and be curious about how they are going to work this out.

If any of these are bringing up fears in you, remember you are upskilling, teaching and guiding humans who will go out and enter the world, ask yourself, do you want them equipped for that, or thrown in the deep end of the pool having never been taught to swim?

If you find you are recognising in yourself helicopter parenting traits, ask yourself why?

Are you fearful of the judgment of others rather than backing yourself and your children?

At the core of being a great parent, is to keep our children safe, but the deeper question is, safe from what?

We all know the horror stories of children going missing, but the reality is, they are very rare occurrences, that is why we know them so well. Statistics show over and over that we are living in the least violent time in history. We now have access to information like never before which has created a false belief that the world is far more dangerous than it has ever been.

What this has then done is create a thought that our job as parents is to drive our kids everywhere, because it’s not safe for them to walk anywhere. Maybe it could be, how can I find ways for my children to walk there safely?

So this weekend, instead of cocooning and rescuing find ways to support, encourage and upskill your children to step up and step out into the world, it’s never too early to start!

If any of this has stirred something in you and you would like to talk more, please comment below or inbox me, I’d love to hear from you!