Proactive Parenting is the difference between parenting on offense or defense.
If you are a sports fan at all, you know that being on defense usually means you are defending your goal, your end zone or your opponent’s basket. When the offense is working, you are actually moving ahead by scoring.
When it comes to parenting on defense, you are defending yourself, your rules, and your sanity; but when on offense, you are actually moving ahead because you are not stuck fighting something, but you are going forward.
Too often, parents find themselves reacting to a child’s negative behavior and making on the spot decisions about their own reactions. Those reactions often become over-reactions which ultimately fail to teach a child anything except the parent cannot really control themselves.
So, what does it really mean to parent on OFFENSE?
It means that your child knows their boundaries in advance. You have talked about them with your child and there are no surprises for them.
It means that your child understands the consequences in advance. You have discussed them with your child and clearly laid them out. And most importantly, you are committed to following through with them.
It sometimes means that contracts are set in advance. There are times when setting a contract with your child is a sound parenting option. For more on setting contracts with your kids, check this out.
It means that you talk about issues with your kids before they come up: Lying, sex, drugs, driving, cheating, stealing, skipping school–to name a few. This idea that a parent may not want to discuss a situation because they don’t want to put ideas in their kids’ heads is not valid. Your child is being exposed to all of these issues in school, on social media, and in TV shows or movies.
On the other hand, parenting on DEFENSE looks like this:
It means you make immediate decisions about correction and consequence without giving it any thought. You don’t take the time to consider, “what does my child really need to learn in this situation?”
It means you respond to your child’s emotions instead of their needs. This is where it’s important to seek to understand the why behind your child’s what.
It means you are make on-the-spot decisions instead of implementing prior ones that you’ve actually thought through.
It means that you allow your child to control the situation. They do this by manipulating you under stress instead you following through on a value or discipline that you’ve already thought about.
When you take the time–and it WILL take your time and commitment–to practively teach, set boundaries, establish contracts and equip your children to face temptations, you will not be reacting to disasters that arise out of ignorance and lack of preparation. Choose to be on offense, choose to be proactive. It will save you and your child a lot of grief.
Need some effective parenting tools to help you parent on offense? Schedule a free consultation here.