Parenting Plans - Cultivating Morals & Character in Your Child
Parenting Plans ...
... help you to create a vision that guides your decisions and behavior as you raise your child. This is essential to a healthy parent-child relationship. Have you taken the time to think about the values you want to cultivate and the family experiences you want to create? In this article, I'll ask you to look deep into your heart and think about what it really means to be a parent, what your child needs from you and how you can provide it. I'll also ask you to consider your own needs, as a parent and as an individual who seeks meaning and purpose in his or her life. By reading this and following my recommendations, you'll be ready to create your own parenting plan and learn what it really takes to raise a child to maturity and what a delightful journey it is.
First, let's explore the components of a healthy family.
In a healthy family, parenting is a top priority. Discipline is fair, consistent and designed to teach, rather than blame, punish or humiliate. Parents establish firm limits, but allow children freedom of expression within boundaries that are in place not to keep children down, but to keep them safe. Expression of feelings is encouraged. Even negative emotions are okay. The family is a safe haven where the child can relax and be himself.
Parenting plans must respect each person's individuality.
Although each person is a member of this tribe which is your family, individual needs must be encouraged and respected. (I go in detail about how you to encourage individual strengths in my book, Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting. Although we'll explore what makes up a good parenting plan in this article, the book tells you how to do it.)
Parents acknowledge that while togetherness is important, everyone has the need for solitude. Time for self-care is also essentially, especially for hard-working parents. Parents need to take time for themselves, so they can fill the cup that gives them the energy to take care of others.
Good parenting plans focus on togetherness and shared experiences, but also allow time for solitude and self-care.
Parents create rituals that make sense within the family and create deep and lasting bonds.
Parents create experiences that facilitate learning, and development of compassion and understanding. Learn how to turn seemingly bad experiences into teachable moments by reading my parenting book, Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting
Since I'm recommending that you read this book and you may be unfamiliar with native ideas and why they lend themselves well to a nurturing view of parenting and the creation of visionary parenting plans without creating conflicts with your religious beliefs, allow me to explain. Although I am a white woman and first learned about native beliefs from my husband (who is from the Pascua Yaqui tribe), I saw at once how they could help any parent (of any creed or culture) learn how to raise children to develop their strengths so that they become progressively aware of what their strengths are and how to use them to create a life that is an expression of their inner strengths and talents. I borrowed tools from the native culture in order to teach this, tools like the vision quest, good medicine, teaching children to honor and develop the strengths inside their hearts. Living in this way is what gives life meaning, so learning how to practice these ideas will add depth and vision to your parenting plan.
Forgive me for digressing. Back to creating parenting plans.
Focus on personal growth:
Even as parents are raising their children to become mature adults, they realize that they need to work on their weaknesses and tendencies that are detrimental to a healthy, loving family (such as a tendency to overreact, to lash out when stressed, to drink to relieve tension, to avoid intimacy through workaholism, etc.)
Spend quality time with your children each day, but never be fooled into thinking that participating in an occasional fun activity is enough. You must also be there for the daily struggles and problems. This is what I refer to as quantity time.
Do activities together: preparing meals, cleaning the kitchen, riding bikes, walking the dog. Make your drive time to and from school, one-on-one time for sharing feelings, dreams and struggles.
Use what's happening in the moment to teach self-discipline and cultivate awareness, compassion and a sense of diplomacy.
Create family rituals that have a sense of meaning and foster deep bonds. Don't just blindly follow traditions. Use them to create your own.
Use the parenting plans on this page as a starting point for your own vision. If you have ideas to contribute, please use the box below. Be part of a caring community of parents around the world who weave their own thread into the tapestry of humanity by consciously raising their children.
About the author: Laura Ramirez is the author of the award-winning parenting book Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting. In her book, she teaches parents how parenting is a vision quest for child and parent and take them on a journey deep into the heart of parenting. She has written hundreds of articles, is a keynote speaker and gives seminars on parenting around the world. To contact her about your upcoming event, use the Contact Us link on the navigation bar to the right. Laura lives with her husband (of the Pascua Yaqui tribe) and two children in the sage-dotted foothills of Northern Nevada.
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