This past Sunday, I attended the Intentional Parenting conference with Sissy Goff and David Thomas, and after reflecting on my notes, so much of the parenting ideas work for teachers as well. During the conference, we discussed four different areas of intentional parenting, and below are some of my key takeaways:
Being a Connected Parent
- Involves being in their lives
- Involves relationships
- Involves real time
Being a Consistent Parent
- “Discipline is an extended and carefully managed event, not a sudden, spontaneous, personal reaction to a child’s behavior.”
- Two typical problems in discipline: too much talk and too much emotion
- Start discipline with a yellow light (Say, “You’re now at a yellow light” and allow child to self-regulate and calm down.)
- Allow kids to go to a safe place to self-regulate and cope
- Help kids identify ways to self-regulate and post a list for them to follow (i.e., count to thirty, color, do a puzzle, think of 5 positive things, sing, read your Bible, pray, listen to music, etc,)
- When disciplining, give a child a choice and then accelerate the consequences without getting emotional.
- Follow through with discipline. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. Don’t forget that you grounded your kid!
- Shut-up and let the consequences do the teaching.
- A great line to use is “I love you too much to argue.”
Being a Balanced Parent
- Balance time— as a parent, you give and give and give. Be sure you find a time to recharge daily (whatever that is).
- Balance support
- Too much support limits growth. Be careful the message you send. If you coach too much, you communicate the kid cannot solve problems on his own.
- Show empathy and ask lots of questions. Give kids a chance to take the lead by asking, “So what do you think you should do?” Instead of saying, “You know what you should do…” This sends the message that you believe in your kid and that he can do it.
- Balance emotion. Emotionally charged moments= mistakes. Create time and space when you get emotional.
Being a Patient Parent
- If your kids are rushed or stressed, start 15 minutes earlier.
- Be considerate of your child’s capabilities.
- Kids today are anxious (1 in 4 reportedly; three years ago it was 1 in 7). They get overwhelmed and we get angry. We have to remember we’re the adult. We need to be patient and help kids work through their anxiety.
- Don’t take things personally.
- Be patient with yourself. As a parent, you’re going to blow it.
- Make your own yellow light coping list.
- Remember, we serve a God who redeems all mistakes.
While these are great tips for parents, they’re just as applicable to teachers because we work with kids every day. Just as they need their parents to be connected, consistent, balanced, and patient, our kids need us to be those things, too. When we started the year, we talked about how anxious are students are, and we can’t forget that.
We’re in a time of the year where we all feel pulled in many directions and we feel stressed. Our students are no different— except because we’re older, we’ve learned some ways to cope and they may still be learning. Let’s model that and be intentional educators to help our students be successful.