Intentional parents use these five techniques
Children must be taught how to think; not what to think. Parenting on purpose takes courage.
Parenting with intention is not an easy feat. It takes time, effort, and dare I even say, planning. No-one is ever quite ready – every parent is caught off guard time and again. I think we have moments when we realize, “WOW, what am I doing” and then we take a deep breath and carry on. But I do love being a mom. I wouldn’t change it for anything in this world.
The word intentional means ‘done on purpose or deliberate’. Parenting with intention is just that, raising children into adults in a purposeful manner. There is a purpose to your parenting, to making tough decisions, helping your children develop strength and character in a world that pulls at them every single day to choose an easier path.
Now, when I speak about parenting with intention, it comes with a caveat. I don’t mean that you structure your entire life around your children, or that it becomes your sole focus. Instead, I’d like to explore it from a ‘done on purpose’ perspective. Intentional parenting directs your attention to responding proactively to your children instead of reactively. It means considering the ages and stages your children are in and what you can do to love them well during that specific phase. It also means taking care of yourself so that you have enough capacity for all the family challenges that arise.
Here are five points to help you parent with intention:
Pray for your children
Firstly, pray for and with your children. Consider the promises the Lord has given you for your children. How can you pray that promise or Scripture over their lives? And when you pray for your children, pray the boldest, bravest prayers you can – don’t ask God for crutches for your children, ask Him for wings for them. “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24.
Pray for them regularly and pray WITH them. If you haven’t done this before, be bold and take the step to pray with your children. You can try it by praying for them at the start of the day. It doesn’t need to a lengthy prayer. Consider praying in the car on the way to school or a sport’s match or dance practice. Keep your eyes open as you pray. Pray for them before a big test or when they are nervous. Pray with them through all the phases of life. Cultivate a culture of praying with your children.
Now more than ever, we need to be praying for our children; and not only them but the children of the world as they navigate schooling and life setbacks. They will have to grab hold of courage as they walk through a life marked in part by Covid-19.
Stages of development need to be considered
Secondly, what age is your child at right now? What do they need from you? Are you in a nurturing phase or a commander-in-chief stage? Do you need to ask more questions and let them experience inevitable consequences? You might need to adapt your parenting style as your children grow into young adults. Intentional parents take time to think about the most appropriate parenting style required and learn about it if need be.
You can read more about it in my book, Parenting With Courage. There, I wrote, “Encourage your children in their diversity and uniqueness, build their strengths, respect their challenges, and treat them individually. When I became a parent, I was idealistic and very naïve. I often responded to my baby in ways I didn’t understand. As my children grew, I did, too. I noticed in families around me that often the mother and father had very different parenting styles, which frequently resulted in confusion, conflict and chaos.”
Seek allies and support
Thirdly, seek support and counsel if needed. We all need each other. The adage is as true today as it was years ago. It really does take a village to raise a child. It might look different today than years ago, but it’s still relevant. Have a look on my website for more blog posts and free resources.
I help moms to gain self-confidence and parenting skills to strengthen their relationships and live more purpose-filled lives in a world at crisis by my 6-week parenting course and coaching.
Self-care is important too
Fourth, how can you take care of yourself and relationships around you? Your children model themselves off you, and when they see you investing in your own growth and life, and living in community, it will encourage them to do the same. I’ve chatted with many parents who don’t know what they enjoy anymore and are so drained that life is a burden. Take care of yourself; you are important too!
Keep hope alive in your heart
Finally, intentional parents live with hope. Hope is future-focused. What do you need to do to keep hope alive in your heart? Remember the promise in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
My encouragement to you is to live intentionally day by day and in doing so, raise adults who can indeed change the world. Parenting world changers is possible and is the greatest honor.