Do you go from dealing with one issue to the next in your kids’ lives?  Like putting out spot fires hoping you can keep everything under control and stop a bushfire from happening in your family.

Many families are caught up in Crisis Parenting.  Crisis parenting is much like the business term: Crisis Management.  This is where the manager is dealing with one crisis after the next, no forward planning, no strategies, no direction.  There’s plenty of action but all happening because of one crisis happening after another. This is how we parent too.  We deal with one negative behaviour after the next, no forward planning, no strategies, no direction but plenty of action – but all happening because of one negative behaviour happening after another.

As parents we want to do the best job we can.  We read books, do parenting courses, discuss with family and friends; we have all this information to help us raise morally mature children and yet we don’t use this information until there is a problem.  We start teaching our child in the middle of our telling off.  This is very ineffective.

[Tweet “Don’t wait till your child does wrong before you teach what is right.”]

The answer to Crisis parenting is Intentional Parenting

 

 

Definition of Intentional Parenting

An Intentional parent has a plan – they know where they are going, and how they are going to get there.

We get caught up in thinking that parenting is about making the kids grow up and do the right thing but good parenting is actually about teaching the heart – teaching our children’s beliefs, character, will, passions.  These things drive our choices – drive our children’s behaviour.  When we are intentional in teaching the heart we have something to work with when the negative behaviours start happening.

Admittedly there’re are times when we get so overwhelmed by the demanding crisis that we feel that we don’t have time to work on these important areas.  The business world has an adage for this quandary.  Important versus Urgent.  In a sense we need to have two training programmes working hand in hand.  First, the Important – this is the training programme that has at its base the things that you want your child to achieve (obedience, respect, love, responsibility etc) and then running alongside this programme is the Urgent – dealing with the crisis!  Dealing with Oh no! My child is biting, Oh no! my children don’t seem to like each other, Oh no! what is that whining!  Dealing with these things may be reactive, it is urgent, but it does need to be dealt with – but not at the complete loss of the important, the intentional, the long term.

There will always be the unexpected in parenting.  I am not promising that intentional parenting will never give you any surprises.  Far from it.  But it won’t catch you as unprepared.

  • You will know that it is about teaching the heart
  • You know what values you want to live by – and teach your children
  • You will think about the heart needs of each individual child
  • You will know parenting is a journey, and you will have plans for walking that journey.
  • You will give children boundaries, helping them to stay within their capabilities of doing right.
  • You will know that things go wrong – and have a strategy for handling those crises.

Crisis parenting has no idea where their family is heading, they just hope for the best; they deal with short term issues with short term solutions.  The intentional parent is in this for the long haul – this attitude affects how they teach and train their children.

 

Tips to Being Intentional

1–Know your value system.  Unless we sit down and talk about it our value system is there in our heart, but we often can’t define it let alone pass it onto our kids.  Know what values you live your life by, know what values are important to teach your kids.

2–Know which particular value you want to teach your children first (or next)

3–Think of difference ways you can teach and practice living out that value

4–Think of ways to correct when they choose to ignore said value – remembering that our correction needs to help them learn not just punish them.  (read about giving consequences here)

 

When I had young children – and establishing your value system in their hearts was full on – I would set aside a time every month to review how they were going.  I would consider the things they were doing well, and the things they weren’t doing so well.  I would then think of ways to address those concerns.  Being proactive takes time and thinking.

Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security because you are busy parenting.  The crises will always be there but we can limit them by being intentional.  Plan where you are going and how you are going to get there – and spend time diligently working towards it.

Further Reading:

10 ways to make parenting HardWe can make parenting hard by any one of these 10 things. Harder than it needs be.

My go-to Consequence: Any consequence needs to help our child reflect on their own heart so they can take responsibility for their choices. Consequences teach not punish.

Stop saying Stop: If we could only stop saying “stop” to our kids and start telling them what to do instead, we’d be much more effective in our parenting.

Saying I’ve already Told you Once , is Not Training our KidsTraining is a long term thing; it will not be over and done with just because we told our children something once, or even twice.

Do you need help in your Family?

Hi! I’m Belinda

About Me

Belinda and her husband, Peter, live in the far north-west of Australia on a small farm. They have four adult children whom they homeschooled from prep-year 12. Over this time Belinda has taught and supported women both face to face and online. Her heart is to encourage families to be intentional, relational and heart focused in all areas of family living. She continues to do this in her new season of life – as her kids leave home one by one leaving her with more time.

Certified Life Coach

Over to you:

What tip did you find most helpful here today?

6 Comments

  1. Shannon @ Of The Hearth

    I really like how you delineate between important and urgent. This is very helpful!
    I like the idea of sitting down and talking about our value system. I think we will try this!

    Reply
  2. Marva | sunSPARKLEshine

    Belinda, this is such good stuff. I’m afraid I’ve been more focused on crisis parenting rather than intentional parenting. It’s so easy to focus on putting out the fire of the moment. I’m grateful for your tips and would appreciate your prayers as I seek to move to a more deliberate and focused approach. Thank you, my friend.

    Reply
  3. Sue Donaldson

    it’s easy to go into crisis parenting when tired or when kids don’t act “as expected” – learning even as a parent of adult children – (:

    Reply
    • Belinda

      Yes it is. I found it helpful though to have some pre-thought strategies up my sleeve so when tiredness hit I could stay mostly on track!

      Reply
  4. Christia Colquitt

    There are so many things I love about this. Can you imagine a world where everyone stopped crisis parenting?? It would be amazing! Love the encouragement and advice you give here. Thank you for sharing on the Faith Filled Parenting LinkUp Party.

    Reply
  5. Addy Brown

    We have to do all the worrying without showing it, so that we don’t upset our child.Often we don’t take care of ourselves, so a treat to the nail salon or hairdresser is special.

    Reply

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