Father and son on beach - intentional parenting

My child arrived just the other day,
He came to the world in the usual way.
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay.
He learned to walk while I was away.
And he was talking ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew,
He’d say, “I’m gonna be like you, dad.
You know I’m gonna be like you.”
– Opening lyrics from “Cat’s in the Cradle” by Sandy & Harry Chapin

Childhood is a brief window of time to forge bonds that last a lifetime. Yet, many parents fail to realize just how fleeting and special these years are. Busy with work and caught up in the details of life, they miss developing rich and loving relationships with their children.

While it’s impossible to completely prevent today’s choices from haunting us tomorrow, parenting with intention can drastically reduce future troubles. Through regular reflection and refinement, we can ensure our parenting practices remain aligned with our goals—bettering our chances of remaining on target and actively engaged in our children’s lives. Parenting with intention not only keeps us on track, but can also transform us from tired to inspired parents.

Inspired parents know that each moment they spend actively engaged with their children is an investment in future relationships. After all, once our children no longer depend on us for food and shelter, shouldn’t we make sure they have a reason to come back?

Do you parent with intention? Find out. All it takes is an appraisal, a plan and a lot of passion.

The appraisal: Seeing things differently

For many parents, the hardest part of parenting with intention is realizing just how far they’ve slipped below their parenting potential. An inspired mom or dad knows the value of both the amount and quality of time they spend with their children.

Take a few minutes right now to really think about your current relationships with your children. Are they everything you want them to be? Identify and list all the positive aspects. Recognize and record any areas that fall short and require improvement. Honesty is critical. We need to admit to and own our troubles before we can eliminate them.

Now, picture your ideal relationships with your children. Give yourself permission to dream. Imagine them in six months… six years… sixteen years… all in vivid detail. See them. Hear them. Feel them. Don’t limit the possibilities. Dream BIG!

The plan: Doing things differently

Now that you have a clear vision in your head, capture it by writing it down. Record your mental picture in a journal, notebook, or online. The medium doesn’t matter as much as the act of putting it into words. After all, how can we arrive at our destination if we are unsure of where we are heading?

Once it’s recorded, review your vision and develop a series of specific and inspired action statements to assist you in attaining your vision. What might these look like? Consider the following example:

I will give them my undivided attention. Whether it’s exploring a frog pond, making pizza, or reading stories together before bed, your kids should know you are theirs and theirs alone. By being present in the moment during play or discussions, you show them how important they are to you. Avoid being an “unconscious parent”—doing one thing but thinking of another. Be there in body as well as in mind and spirit.

Whether you frame your inspired action statements or carry a copy in your wallet, try to practice them. Then take time to regularly reflect and review what you’ve accomplished. Things not going according to plan? Acknowledge any mistakes and recommit to trying again. Repeat this process every day for thirty days and you will see changes in your life.

However, knowing what to do is often not enough. Great plans do not ensure success. Now it’s time to add the final ingredient… passion!

The passion: Magnetizing your mind

The ability of the mind to subconsciously connect to a higher source and bring thought into reality has been a longstanding topic of discussion. Modern spiritual writings, such as those of Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra, abound with examples of people achieving or “manifesting” their dreams. Whether you call it “connecting to Source,” or simply the power of positive thinking, the results are just as real.

Like a magnet, the subconscious mind attracts resources into your life when you attach strong emotion to your thoughts. Magnetize your mind with intense positive emotions, such as love, when reflecting on your plans each day. Boost the potential of your vision to come true—banish all doubt, and attach passion to your parenting plan.

Parenting and life coach Rob Stringer helps regular families achieve remarkable results through individual and group sessions and courses. For more info visit www.parentingwithintention.ca.

image: pidsmannen