Are you a full-time parent?
This has nothing to do with whether you have a job/stay at home or homeschool/send them to school. It has everything to do with building a healthy, whole relationship with your child.
With all that you do every day for your kids, you know that parenting is very demanding. Parenting requires our full attention, love, care, discipline, and effort. Too often, parents squeeze their parenting into a rushed, stressed schedule of work, recreation, personal development, entertainment, and other duties.
Parents confuse taking their children places and involving them in extra-curricular activities with involved parenting. Yes, part of parenting is going with them to their activities. But parenting is about relationships, not just a duty or a role you play.
The bottom line is that effective parenting is not part-time parenting; it is a full-time job.
If you refuse to settle for part-time parenting, these are the things that you must do to invest in your relationship with your child:
Full-time Parenting meant Taking Notice
Notice their clothes, hair style, non-verbal communication, friends, interests, change in habits, temperament, feelings, music, TV programs, video games, email, words, attitudes, behaviors, grades, hangouts, etc. In other words, notice everything.
I can’t help but wonder if fewer kids would choose to end their life or make dangerous choices if their parents were paying closer attention. Perhaps their parents would have noticed the signals that their kids were sending.
Full-time Parents Talk
Talking with your child, which includes lots of listening, should be about sharing feelings, thoughts, opinions, joys, hurts, random stuff, sexuality, finances, and right from wrong. Nothing is off limits. Talking with lots of listening communicates warmth, caring, interest, concern, love, and empathy.
Full-time Parents Trust
Don’t always assume the worst of your child. Trust them until they give you a reason not to. And then, allow them opportunities to earn that trust back. Show them what it means to be trustworthy by earning their trust.
Full-time Parents Focus on Togetherness
Let your child know that you are with them, not against them; you are not the enemy. As a family, you should focus on working together, not pulling apart.
Full-time Parents Include Touch in Their Homes
Children need your physical touch–hugs, kisses, squeezes, and all kinds of appropriate touch. They do not outgrow that, even if they act like they don’t want it when they are teens.
Full-time Parents Practice Thanksgiving
An attitude of gratitude works both ways. Tell your children daily how thankful you are for them and they’ll begin telling you the same.
Full-time Parents Take Time
Children need you. Your presence cannot be replaced by stuff.
Full-time Parents Teach
Although you delegate the responsibility of teaching your child things like math, science and English, you are still your child’s primary teacher. Don’t leave it up to the school, church, club, tutor, coach or caregiving to teach your child about values and character.
Full-time Parents Speak Truth
Tell your kids the truth about things in life that may be uncomfortable to talk about–sex, substances, honesty, integrity. Tell them the truth about responsibility and about living with the consequences of their choices.
You Can Be a Full-time Parent No Matter What Job You Have
No matter what job you hold outside or inside the home–or maybe you are a stay-at-home Mom or Dad–you can be a full-time parent because full-time parenting is a recognition of the importance of investing in your child’s character, emotions, and values, not just providing for their physical needs.
My father-in-law was a hard-working man who worked 2-3 jobs when his kids were young. He ended up starting a business and growing a small “empire”, but in the process he neglected being a dad to his four boys. Not only was he not parenting full-time, he was barely parenting at all because in his mind, parenting was just about paying the bills for his kids.
Being present and practicing full-time parenting may not be a natural response for you, but it is one that is worth developing. The return on your emotional investment will be well worth the effort.
If you are struggling to have a full-time parenting mentality, I can help. I’m a parenting coach who can work with you to practice full-time parenting. Schedule a free intro call here.