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/// Aug 2, 2018 8:00:00 AM

What is Developmental Parenting?

Posted by Soo Balbi

Development and Parenting

Parenting starts with you, not your child. Since your child almost exclusively models you and your way of being in the world, you are the one who needs to do the work, not them :)

In parenting children, you set the very first frames of meaning about all aspects of life for your child. These frames set the direction and establish perimeters (structures of thinking, such as beliefs, values, identity etc.) of what your child sees as possible (and therefore not possible) for themselves, as they grow and develop. 

That’s a big burden and simultaneously, a huge opportunity – all without any manual or any training!

The first impressions that you make for a child are very powerful, lasting, and influential. They form and format your child’s way of operating in the world.

From an inside look into the developmental psychology of parenting, parenting becomes influencing the very development of a child’s humanity— one’s sense of self and overall orientation to life.

Check out our developmental matrix for parenting below for more:

 

The Matrix of Effective Parenting

  1. Self

All development starts with awareness and self leadership.

Stand back for a moment and take an objective look at your behaviours, beliefs and thinking patterns. Are they still serving you? Do they allow you to be your best? If not, do you want to gift them as your inheritance to your children?

As a parent, investing your heartbeats in your own development is critical. This means prioritising time in your busy life to identify and clear limiting beliefs and self imposed limitations. Doing this kind of regular reflection and inquiry can dramatically influence your child and their way of being in the world.

  1. Power

One of the key characteristics many parents want to their children to develop is response-ability.

Response-ability is the ability to respond. To take response-ability is to understand where your power starts and where it finishes. 

You are responsible for only four elements. These include your two private powers; your thinking and feeling, as well as your two public powers; your speaking and behaving. Everything outside of these four powers is influence, yet paradoxically, when you take ownership of the powers, you gain influence.

Demonstrating healthy responsibility is the first step towards teaching your children to do the same.

If you usurp their powers by being over-responsible, rather than doing them a favour you may be doing the opposite, raising an under responsible child who is not given the opportunity to grow and develop. Strong trees grow where the big winds blow.

  1. States

You’re driving to your holiday destination and you’ve been in the car for 3 hours with another 3 hours to go. The kids are going ballistic in the back seat, fighting over who gets the last piece of chocolate.

Do you join in the madness by screaming louder than any of them, or do you manage your state and lead them back to sanity?

Part of effective parenting is being able to access your most resourceful states in the most trying of circumstances.

Imagine bringing the state of love rather than anger to a challenging situation such as a 2-year old’s tantrum in the supermarket. Being able to access resourceful parenting states such a calmness, patience, acceptance or love is an expression of you stepping up as a leader within your family.

  1. Others

If communication is the response you get, then your power is in adapting your responses until you get the outcomes you are looking for.

It’s up to you to be responsible to check if your communication has landed, and if it hasn’t then it’s up to you to find a way to communicate that does. If you wait around for your kids to bridge the communication gap you could be waiting a long time.

And as you relate with your kids, consider that you’re shaping their expectations around:

  • communication and relationship;
  • what they think and feel about the idea of connection, whether this is a good and valued thing or a dangerous and fearful thing;
  • what they think or feel about “people” and human nature; their ideas about relationships, love, associations, authority, roles, teams, cultures, arguments, conflicts, forgiveness and all of the relational emotions.

What principles, beliefs and meanings do you want to gift your children?

  1. World

As a parent it’s important to keep in mind that as human beings we move through stages of development. There are about thirteen or fourteen recognized levels of maturity in a human being.

There is no avoiding this process, we are all conditioned from the foundations of culture. Just like you, your children will develop through these stages, as they mature into fully functioning and independent adults.

As a parent you can facilitate their successful passage rather than hinder it. Gaining some knowledge of these stages allows you to do this.

For example, between the ages of 2 and 7 a child moves through a stage related to power and will. The ‘terrible two’s is part of this process and it can be challenging for parent and child alike. Parents may be tempted to regularly flex their authority as an adult... Don’t you say no to me!

Certainly, it’s part of parenting to provide boundaries that ensure a child’s safety, and especially so when they are younger. Equally it’s important not to suppress a child’s experience of their power and will in the world. It requires wisdom and patience to identify the fine line between the two.

  1. Meaning

Is parenting a heavy and costly responsibility that takes you away from pursuing your own interests?

Is it an opportunity to nurture another human being and provide them with a foundation that lets them be the best they can be?

What meaning do you bring to parenting?

There are lots of day to day parental duties: driving to sports events, changing nappies, making dinner. The meanings you hold in mind about being a parent will shape your experience.

Shitty meanings, shitty experience. It’s your choice.

  1. Intention

Intention drives attention.

What are your intentions as a parent? What are you about? What’s important to you that you’d like to impart to your kids? How do you want your children to describe you when they grow into adults?

Take time to consider these questions and others like them. Then when life gets stressful, you know what matters to you, you’re clear about what you intend, and you don’t find yourself getting distracted and reacting like a firecracker.

Are you parenting intentionally?

  1. Time

As a parent, with many demands on our time it’s important to prioritise. Saying yes to parenting and it’s many dimensions means saying no to other things.

Key to this process is the language we use about how we spend our time. Rather than saying you don’t have the time to do something, you are choosing not to do it because it is not a priority. Using this language reminds us that time is a choice.

Ready for next steps? Check out the course below. 

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FURTHER READING
The Parental Evolution