Well it’s that time of year again were we all make some type of resolution usually to lose weight, work less, be healthier, go to the gym. If you’re looking for something different try this for a twist on the old favourite….
I urge you to ask your kids ‘how could you be a better parent this year’…. and get their opinion. It’s quite confronting and a challenge to take this step and ask. I did just this, after thinking about it for a week. However before I did, I took a few minutes to think about this question myself ‘so, how could I be a better parent?’ and jotted down a few notes.
Then I asked each of my three children in turn without them hearing what the others said and without giving them any examples as I didn’t want to put ideas into their heads. I wanted it straight from the horses mouth so to speak. I dutifully took notes, had a few smiles and at the end all three were keen to hear what the others had said; so I read it all through for them including at the end, my own ideas.
What did they ask for? It was also great to hear that all they really wanted was more of my time to play with each of them and to play as a family plus more cuddles and kisses. There were no requests for me to spend more money on them, buy them more presents. I often say to parents that ‘what we see as necessary and reasons we need to earn more money to give our children more things or opportunities is not what they want. They want you and only you and your time. Not things’ and by asking my children the question ‘How could I be a better parent?’ proved that this was right on track. So all I need to give is more time, my guess is that your children will ask for the same of you. Well I must say, there were a couple of surprises but I was gratified to find that my ideas were right on track. This confirmed for me as a parent that the areas I wanted to work on where also what they wanted as well. As for the surprises well, needless to say I will be taking them onboard and helping them clean the clutter from their rooms to make tidying easier and making a time for weekly family meetings to discuss what we are planning for the week and and behaviour issues that need further exploration.
Of course I couldn ‘t let it finish there, so I followed up with a question to them…. “How could you be a better brother or sister?” I followed the same process again. And to my surprise - each listed the exact points I would have written for them, which goes to show that they are aware of what they too need to work on. Give it a try, it can only make you a better parent for asking.