All parents ask themselves if they’re doing a good job, but sometimes we need a little support or guidance to help us decide if our choices are really the best ones for our children.
Now, you have the answers.
1. What is your role as a parent?
Are you a provider, confidant, authority, teacher, a guide, or a friend? Which of these are at odds with your ideas of good parenting? Which are supportive of your goals as a good parent? In which role are you over-doing it? Which role needs more attention? Which role(s) would the ideal parent possess? Which role(s) fit you naturally? In which role(s) are you not living up to your potential? How could you fix those behaviors? Would you really change anything? Do you really want to? How? If you did make changes, how would those changes benefit the relationship between you and your child?
How do you strike a balance of control and autonomy in your child’s life? Which of you has most of the control? Is that how it should be? Should either of you change what’s happening? Why or why not? What needs shifting?
At what age do you envision your child pursuing his own life mostly independent of your influence? Is he ready yet? What skills, knowledge, or understandings is he lacking? Will life take care of those lessons along the way or should you step in to be more supportive? How?
Are you being the best parent you could be? How could you be better? Will that support your child on his journey into adulthood? Will you be proud of the role you played in shaping your child’s future?
2. What’s important?
What’s important to you? What’s important to your child? How are these two alike? How are they different? Do they mesh, co-exist, or differ greatly? Is that okay?
Are you supportive of your child’s needs? Could you or should you be more supportive; or is it your child’s job to figure it all out? How much is a parent’s duty and how much is your child’s part of life lessons?
Have you asked your child what’s important to him? What’s his response? How might today’s important ideas influence his future? Have you thought about how much you’ve changed since you were your child’s age? Were your dreams, plans, and goals different then? How did they change over time?
Would you change anything about your life? What do you wish you’d known at your child’s age that may have changed your “future you”? Why would that knowledge, skill, or understanding have been helpful to you? Is it a piece of wisdom that you can pass to your child ? Will it be of use to him in his life and circumstances?
3. What kinds of people surround and influence your child?
How important are your child’s friendships and family relationships to his personhood? Can you do anything to support those relationships? Should you? Does your child have any influential people whom you disagree with in his life? How will that shape your child? What can you do about it? Does he have negative influences that you feel may inhibit your child’s growth? How can you support your child as he processes those influences?
How does your child deal with different kinds of people? Will those approaches serve him well? What kind of partner might your child choose? How might that be influenced by his choices and your choices in his life today?
4. What is a good education?
What is the purpose of education? What is true learning for your child? Knowledge? Understandings? Skills? How many? How much? What is too much? What is not enough? What kind of learning is right for your child? How do you know your child is learning?
Is learning a foundation, an extension, a “here and now” , or a “use it later”? What’s worthwhile to know? What’s arbitrary? How does your child learn best?
Which parts of your child’s education are working? Which ones need fixed, altered, or deleted? How can changes be made? By whom? How will your child’s education have bearing on his future? Which parts are beyond your control? Which parts are beyond his control? Is that okay?
Does your child’s education align with your goals? His goals? Will it create problems down the road, enhance his life, or have little bearing? How much of your child’s education is under your control? How much is under his control? Are you doing what you need to do to support your child’s learning?
5. How much independence do you give your child?
Is your child free to make mistakes and learn life’s lessons? What controls will you be giving up in the next few years? How does that make you feel? Did you consider the needs of your child, your goals, his goals, your family’s or friend’s ideas? Are you choosing life’s lessons for your child or is your child? How much independence is helpful to learning and how much independence is running wild at your child’s age? How did you come to that conclusion? How will that change in the next few years? Are you prepared for those changes? How much can you really control? Is it better to learn some lessons now or later? Which ones? When is later?
6. What will the future look like for your child?
What kind of child do you have? What kind of future do you envision for your child? Does it fit with his interests, desires, goals? Do you support your child’s interests and goals or see them as a passing phase? If they’re not a phase, would that be okay with you? What could you do to be supportive? Should you?
Are you preparing your child for his future now? How? What else could you be doing? Should you? What does your child think you should be doing? Would that be helpful, supportive, and allow him to find his way in the world?
Which of these questions brought about feelings of confidence and calmness reflecting on your role as a parent? Which questions made you feel like you’re not doing what you should be doing? Which choices did you make without reflecting or understanding? Which situations are beyond your control? How can you better accept your child as part of your life and as a separate person?
Talk to your child. Discover who he really is. Find out his hopes, dreams, fears, and goals. Be the best parent you can be.