“In this world you’re either growing or you’re dying, so get in motion and grow.” ―Lou Holtz
Growing involved constantly learning and making improvements.
In our jobs, hobbies, and all the other areas of our life we want to get better at, we study, take courses, practice, and put effort into mastering those skills.
Why then do so many average parents see parenting as some innate ability where you are born with the skills you have? Why don’t more take intentional steps to improve their parenting skills?
Michael Jordan (or insert any other successful pro athlete) didn’t practice real hard up until he signed his first professional contract then put it in cruise control. No, he practiced harder once he signed that contract so he could be the best.
As parents, we need to take the same approach. We directly control how well we parent and how well we parent directly affects our children’s future.
To improve our skills, we must Do The Opposite!
Parenting is not an innate ability only a few individuals possess. It is a learned process or skill that everyone can get better at. Excellent parenting requires intentional practice, meaningful feedback, and reﬂection.
Intentional practice is the art of focusing on one specific area where improvement is needed.
Baseball players don’t work on hitting, throwing, and catching all at the same time. Developing parenting skills is no different. Pick one area and focus on that area until you are satisfied with your improvement.
Maybe you want to improve how well you follow through on making your daughter clean her room. Focus on that. Create a chart of the number of times you tell her to clean it and the number of times it gets cleaned.
Focus on making those numbers equal each other. Create a routine for the practice. Routines help keep us focused and in the moment.
Feedback is required to make improvement. We are all horrible at truly assessing our abilities. Most of us are way too hard on ourselves. To compensate for this, we must seek meaningful feedback from others.
When seeking the feedback, ask guiding questions such as, “I have been working on following through when I tell Ali to do something. Have you noticed me letting her slide in certain areas?”
Asking the general “How am I doing?” is not a great way to get meaningful feedback. Most people are uncomfortable pointing out areas of improvement, especially when it comes to other people’s parenting skills.
Reflection is the practice of thinking about and analysing our own experiences in order to improve.
Parenting is about experiences. To learn from these experiences, you must think about them and analyze what went well and what could have gone better.
Purposefully think about what you would do again and what you would do differently next time. These daily reflections will show up in practice the next time a similar experience happens.
Parenting is a constantly changing and never ending process. We can improve our skills through intentional practice, meaningful feedback, and reflection.
“Growth is the great separator between those who succeed and those who do not. When I see a person beginning to separate themselves from the pack, it’s almost always due to personal growth.” ― John C. Maxwell