Preparing Your Kids for Life

All of parenting, I think, can be boiled down to the simple task of preparing our children for life out there in the world, once they are grown and out of our homes.

This reality can be both comforting, in that it gives us direction, and daunting because of the broad scope.

Striving In the Right Direction when Raising Kids, No Matter the Results

Most of the time, I think the default setting for all of us as parents is to just get through each day. Certainly, when we had a houseful of very young ones that was about it. I’m sure you’ve seen the meme on Facebook and Pinterest about having kept the kids alive for the day. That about sums up some days, doesn’t it?

However, as much as we can all joke about the challenges of motherhood and the struggles with getting pretty much anything done when we have young kids in the family, I think we should still strive towards something more. Even if we don’t succeed in doing much more than keeping the kids alive for the day and taking a 2 minute shower, we should still aim in a specific direction. Eventually, as we take aim in the right direction, and strive towards certain goals, we’ll eventually find, to our surprise, that we are moving a little bit closer every now and then to those end goals.

When I had five kids all under six in my house, pretty much nothing I wanted to do or felt like I should do got done. I’d look at someone who was doing all sorts of cool things with their kids, and I’d wonder what was wrong with me. Sometimes it was just that in the season of having so many young children, logistically getting anything done was impossible.

So, let’s settle this: I’m not talking about adding a list of guilt-inducing impossible tasks to a busy, harried life. 

Quite the opposite, actually.

By setting some specifics to keep in mind, some targets to aim at (whether we hit the goal in a timely fashion or not), I was better able to filter out what was and was not important when it came to all of the opportunities and situations that presented themselves to me. My own default setting, at some point, was to just say yes, and then kick myself over it for a while. After hubby and I sat down and put in writing what we wanted to achieve, long term, in this parenting thing, we were more easily able to say no to certain things.

In essence, our long term parenting goals lightened the load and made me more focused.

Our long term parenting goals lightened the load and made me more focused. Click To Tweet

There are No Instant Results in Raising Kids

I’ll add another bit of advice to that list: there are no instant results when you are raising kids. There are no magic formulas you can follow to achieve guaranteed results overnight or your money back.

As a Christian, I believe that God has made each one of us, including each one of my children, to be unique individuals, with free wills. As a result, each child can choose to obey you, or choose to do the right thing, or not. Every child has a unique personality and a unique set of needs. Our job as parents is, in part, to help them succeed within their unique traits and talents.

In raising our kids, we have to decide to not focus in on the short term results, but instead keep our eyes on the long term prize so to speak. If I want my kids, as is one of our goals, to be able to have good control over their emotions and not be emotionally manipulative as adults, this is going to affect how I parent today.

In raising kids, we can seek short term peace or long term results Click To Tweet

For example, when they throw a fit in a store because they don’t like to hear the word “No”, I have a choice to make.

I can bribe them for some short term peace (and to keep the busy bodies from giving me the evil eye), or I can remember that my long term goal is to raise future adults who don’t fall apart when they hear the word no, and act accordingly. It is highly inconvenient to do so, especially the first two or three times your kid tries that. However, eventually they learn that this isn’t working out so well for them, and they adjust accordingly.

Setting Attainable Goals for Raising Your Kids

Yes, I’m sure you’ve realized I’m a bit obsessive about goals. 🙂

However, I find that goals help me, with my scattered brain and disorganized nature, focus better on what direction I need to be heading. With goals for my children, these goals helped our family make decisions better about certain things.

When I’m talking about goals for raising your kids though, I don’t mean wanting little Johnny to be a professional football player. You can’t control whether or not he will have the skills or the desire necessary to do something so specific. I’m talking about setting goals for skills and character traits that will help them succeed no matter what they wind up doing with their lives, and then keeping those goals in mind as you go through each day as their parent.

In other words, think through those skills and character traits you feel will be necessary for you to teach your child. Some of them might be more vague like my example of handling their emotions in a healthy way. Some might be extremely practical (like how to check the fluids in your car, change a tire, and so forth).

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