To Become a Better Parent You Must Do This
So you’ve decided you want to be a “better parent.” Congratulations! Have you really thought about what that means to you though? Better than what? Does it include adopting a family leadership mindset? Let’s find out.
Think about the actual things you want to change so you’ll feel like a better parent. Do you want to make healthier lunches for your kids? Do you want to have a spotless home and perpetually clean laundry? Do you want your bake-sale contributions to be the envy of the class? Maybe you just want to be on-time more often.
Those are all admirable goals. But if like those examples, your list of ways to be a “better parent” is all about things you can control on a day-to-day basis, then you may be stuck in a manager mindset. You’re focused on checking off a to-do list and being more efficient. Those aren’t bad things at all. But there’s more you can do to achieve success.
What you really need to be a calmer, more grounded, intentional, “better” parent is a family leadership mindset.
We’re going to take you through three steps to start your parenting transformation:
- Explain what the family leadership mindset is and how it’s different than “normal” parenting
- Give you ways to work with, not against, your coparent and your children to grow together as a team
- Share our favorite resources with you on how to take the next step in your family leadership journey
As you start to change your normal habits and incorporate the family leadership mindset you will:
- Wake up each day with a wave of “I can handle whatever life throws at me” rather than “What do we have to do today?”
- Release the tension and built-up frustration of having to always be the one who manages and provides for the rest of the family
- Be shocked (and delighted) to discover your children are way more capable than you expected, even your very young ones
- Experience an incredible high as you discover your primary purpose as a parent is to be a loving guide, coach, and mentor—not a maid, chauffeur, or short-order cook
- Learn to stop comparing yourself to other parents and instead feel calm, grounded, and totally confident that you’re doing a stellar job as a parent
Step 1: Differentiate Family Leadership from “Normal” Parenting
Parenting advice is often focused on managing our children, our spouses, or our stuff. We’re told how to fix our children’s behavior and parent from a list of someone else’s tips and tricks.
What makes you a better parent isn’t how expensive your stroller is or how many features your diaper bag has.
What makes you a better parent is your attitude and mindset about your long-term big-picture purpose as one human raising another. It’s the nature and quality of your relationships.
Given all there is to get done each day, few people think about developing a broader vision for themselves or their family and actually go so far as to identify actionable steps to be prepared for whatever life brings.
Managing that daily grind is what causes anxiety at milestone birthdays. It’s how we find ourselves unhappy and unfulfilled wondering where the time went.
The way to escape the rat race and establish order for yourself and your family is through a family leadership mindset.
Let’s unpack that.
The basic elements of a family leadership mindset are:
- Purpose – You know that your purpose as a parent is more than managing the family to-do list and you want to explore that role further.
- Empowerment – You’re dedicated to helping your children learn to do things for themselves even when it’s inconvenient (or you’re prepared to do so when your baby is older).
- Aligned Values + Goals – While there is rarely “one right way” to approach a situation, you understand that knowing what you believe (values) and where you are headed (goals) create the best framework for making decisions for your family.
- Team Mentality – You consider your family a team, one unit that works together for the betterment of each as well as the whole (or you’re willing to work toward that goal).
- The 3 Es – You understand that a child’s environment, their experiences, and your engagement with them are all connected in becoming a successful adult, and you’re invested in learning more about it.
- Happiness Formula – You believe happiness is the result of effort, achievement, and overcoming failure, not having luxury handed to you, and you’re looking for support to teach your children the same.
Step 2: Work with, Not Against, Your Family
You might be excited now to start adopting the family leadership mindset. But what about the other person raising your children? Can you recall jumping at the chance to make a tough change in your life because SOMEONE ELSE decided it was necessary? Unlikely.
We all want to feel like we have our voices heard, including our children. If things need to change, everyone should be involved in the process.
To make changes in our habits and relationships, especially in a complex network like our family, we need family buy-in.
For example, just because you decided to go on a diet does not mean your family is going to willingly eat broccoli at every meal and refuse dessert at the family dinner at a restaurant.
The family leadership mindset is rarely about making decisions FOR everybody else. It’s almost always to make decisions WITH them. Of course your experience and wisdom will count for much more. But the ultimate execution of any change will go much more smoothly if everyone else is on the bandwagon with you.
So how do you get that buy-in?
First: You must start with a conversation about your family values. Need help identifying your family values or how to talk about them with your family? Download our free guide Becoming a Confident Parent and Family Leader: The Four-Step Foundation.
Next: Once your values are aligned you can all begin to see yourself as a cohesive family team, not just people living in the same house. Now you and your partner as coleaders can begin to address some of the opportunities for changing old habits that no longer serve the overall team.
We know that’s putting it nicely. Change is hard, but you can do hard things.
Step 3: Gather Your Resources
When the team is ready to move forward together, even if they still have reservations, you want to have information at your fingertips. Download our free resource guide now. Part of being an effective and inspirational leader in any situation is behaving in a proactive (not reactive) way after all.
Remember, the family leadership mindset includes these six parts:
- Establishing your purpose as a parent
- Empowering your family with skills and beneficial behaviors
- Aligning your values + goals
- Viewing your partner and children as a team
- Applying the 3 Es (environment, experience, and engagement)
- Understanding that happiness is the result of effort and achievement, not having luxuries handed to you
It’s our mission and great pleasure to guide you through all of them.
Somer is the Chief Content Officer at Birth2Work living in Redondo Beach, California with her husband and three-year-old son. She spent 10 years in the architecture field as a designer and medical planner and now applies her love of integrative thinking and big-picture planning to her family and career. Read full bio >>
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