Welcome To Colossal Parenting
I call it Colossal Parenting.
It's how we parent when we’re able to see beyond the behavior and attempt to understand what’s behind it.
When we’re able to act not out of our exhaustion or exasperation, but with empathy and compassion.
When we seek to understand instead of just seeking to be understood.
When we truly listen when kids speak, and talk with instead of to them.
When we intentionally and purposely choose how to respond, instead of automatically reacting.
Parenting is a really big job. Arguably bigger than what we do with the rest of our day. For whatever reason, though, it often gets whatever is left over of our energy, attention, and – well, some days, anything else!
My kids deserve better than my leftovers day in and day out.
(As part of a family that relishes leftover food, I’m talking strictly metaphorically here.)
I often don’t realize that is what they are getting until I’m knee-deep in negativity. It might look like me suddenly recognizing that I’ve been short with them consistently over the course of several days. Maybe I’ve been approaching a deadline on an outside project and haven’t been available to them after school for a while. Perhaps they’re giving me one-word answers because I haven’t been very quick to listen lately.
Parenting well takes intention and attention. It takes great effort and energy for most of us. It requires that we put aside our ambitions and to-do lists, our [gulp] own desires and baggage for a time and devote our full selves to them.
I’m not talking about martyrdom here, as I highly value self-care and rejuvenation for parents. I mean that when the opportunity arises to have a meaningful moment with our kids, we jump in all the way and give them our best. No leftovers. No weany attempts. I’m talking valiant, colossal effort and intention.
Colossal Parenting is:
1. Intentional – Instead of parenting accidentally, know where you are going with your kids before you move any further in this journey.
2. Purposeful – It’s not taking a trial-and-error approach to parenthood. Instead, be clear about why you are taking a particular direction with your youngsters.
3. Proactive – We all react, we all lose our cool at times, we all do things we wish we hadn’t. It’s hard to think productively when moments are emotionally-charged. Do yourself a favor and plan ahead for those challenging moments. Write down how you want to respond and post it somewhere handy for reference in those charged moments.
4. Valuing what’s deeply important – This is the big one for me. Know what your family deems is most important in life and make that the foundation of your interactions, communication, relationships, and all the other ways you live life together. Make decisions based on these values.
5. Parenting from those values – Instead of parenting out of self-consciousness, fear, or in response to others’ expectations or judgments.
Does this mean that every interaction we have with our kids is going to move mountains? That’d be nice, but no. Does it mean that the tantrums will stop and our kids will engage in logical conversations from here on out? Sorry, but also no.
Colossal Parents still face challenges with their kids.
The goal here isn’t to have children who never misbehave. The goal isn’t to be a parent who never does anything that could be viewed as less than perfect. We’ll get off-track. Our kids will get off-track.
The goal is to figure out how to get back on track, with our relationship intact and a mutual understanding of what’s really important in life.
Because, let’s face it, some of the challenges we have with our kids are about things that aren’t deeply important in life. Figuring out how to work through challenges together is. Maintaining the relationship that the two of you have is deeply important. Let’s parent with a desire to deepen and strengthen that bond.
That’s a worthwhile goal with the potential for colossal impact.
Additional resources that may be helpful in your endeavor to be a Colossal Parent are available on my website.