2 Steps Every Parent Can Take to Improve Parenting: Step 2

by Jen Reichert

Step One (from last time): Let go of your old-school parenting. Check! 

Step Two: Value and Enjoy Your Children, Rather Than Manage Them

An idea I lovingly stole from Dr. Dan Siegel and Mary Hartzell’s book, Parenting from the Inside Out, and took to heart.

And it can be a humbling reminder of our parenting goals that’s often easier said than done because life is busy and messy. It’s called the “daily grind” for a reason. 

As things move faster, it becomes more difficult to keep up which makes it easier to fall into the black hole of just trying to survive with as few hiccups as possible. I ask you, where’s the fun in that? 

I get it! Who has time for fun when there’s football practice and oil changes and dirty laundry? Not to mention, it’s right and good (and necessary!) to be responsible.

However, sometimes in all our list-making and day-managing, we lose sight of what’s actually most important – enjoying and valuing our kids. 

You see, when we share emotion with our children, a part of their brain fires (pow) and connects to a part of our brain (boom) and that promotes attachment (aww).   

So what if dinner is leftover pizza two nights in a row because you took the long way home to hear about your kid’s third-grade stresses? What may feel like a balanced-diet-swing-and-a-miss can actually be a big ol’ homer you knock outta the park, slugger.

Why, you ask? Because the connections made when children interact in healthy relationships goes beyond any damage consumption of fast food here and there will do.

In the midst of the busyness and messiness, when’s the last time you actually enjoyed your kid? And how long did it last before you moved onto the next item on that giant to-do list of yours? Be honest.  

Or how about this one? When’s the last time you think your kid enjoyed you?

The science is clear – children are people, not projects, and they thrive when they’re enjoyed and valued, not managed. I encourage you to prioritize quality of time with your kids over the quantity of items you accomplish, and see what difference it makes.