It’s 2018! The start of a new year often inspires us to take time to reflect on another year gone by, and consider changes we want to make in our lives moving forward. It can be a nice opportunity to purposefully reflect on our parenting values and goals. Taking a moment to consider what means the most to you as a parent and in your relationships with your children can get overlooked when we’re caught up in the daily hustle and bustle of the everyday.
An easy exercise parents can do to assist with this reflection on parenting values is like this: Jot down a list of 3-5 things that really matter to you in your parenting or in your relationships with your kids. For example, this might include “showing my children that I value and love them” or “teaching my children to be caring and empathetic.” Then think about how your actions are consistent or not consistent with the statements you wrote. For example, spending time with your children and telling them you love them are ways that a parent might demonstrate to their children that they value and love them. Next, take another sheet of paper and draw a target on it with a bullseye in the center. The bullseye represents living your life 100% in line with your parenting values. With this framework in mind, map out where all of the items on the list are at this moment in relation to the bullseye. When you have finished, reflect on what your completed drawing looks like. Which values are closer to the bullseye? What do you do on a regular basis that makes it so that this value is closer to the center? Are there certain values from your list that are farther away from the bullseye? If so, why do you think that is? What is one specific thing you can do in the upcoming week to move it closer to the bullseye?
When it comes to parenting in accordance to your values, the process is ongoing and continuous. For example, if your value is “showing my children that I love and value them,” this is something you continue to display through your affection, behavior, and communication. This process of evaluating what really matters to you in your parenting and then identifying steps you can take to move closer to living consistent with that value is something that is helpful to attend to from time to time. Here’s hoping everyone has a great start to 2018!