As parents who want the best for our kids, there’s always something we want to be better. It may be a small lesson we want them to learn like turning off the lights before leaving the room. Or it may be as big as not knowing where they are for days at a time.
What is it that you want to be better? Whatever you want to be better is your parenting challenge.
I know I’m not alone when I lie in bed at the end of the day and wish I knew what to do about my current challenge – or – actually practiced what I do know. Sometimes it’s easy to know what to do. But with the pressures of work, school, coordinating schedules and all the other daily stuff on our plate, we get to the end of the day and realize we didn’t do it… again!
So, how do we solve our most pressing parenting challenge?
First, get clear on what it is. What’s the biggest challenge for you as a parent right now? For me, it’s really engaging with my sons. I know I should. I think and write about how important it is. But it’s a daily challenge for me to set aside my important project, put my phone away and really engage with my sons.
The next step I learned from a very short and practical book called The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy.
He talks about “Your Secret Weapon – The Scorecard.” The concept is quite simple yet extremely effective. However, it does take effort. Sometimes the best ideas are the simple ones, but only if we do them.
Here’s how it works. Take your parenting challenge and make it into a positive statement. For me, it’s “I want to fully engage with my boys during family meals and at least another conversation or activity each day.”
Once you’re clear on what your challenge is and what you want to accomplish, you begin to make yourself aware of the choices you’re making around that challenge.
The way to be aware of your choices is to track every action that relates to that challenge. Carry a small notebook and pen or use an app on your smart phone and write everything down… every day… for a week.
Now, you may be thinking (as I do), “that’s crazy!” or “how’s that going to help?” or “isn’t there an easier way?”
I’m sure there are other ways that people will try to sell. But I’ve tried this tracking method, and it works! It’s so simple that it seems like it wouldn’t work. And it sounds like a pain in the butt!
However, it works because it makes us aware of what’s really going on and helps us shift our choices and behaviors toward achieving our goal! And it’s cheap without consuming much time!
Once you commit to tracking everything around your parenting challenge, you will notice the beginning of a mind shift. After a week, you can begin to see progress.
Then, commit to two more weeks to cement the new habits that are forming.
If you are skeptical… please try it, and prove me wrong!