7 Tools For Parenting With Purpose

Regain control of your family and bring peace to your household with these seven tools.

Do you put your family first? Or is your life so hectic that sometimes you have the sense your family is slipping away from you? Here are Dr. Phil’s Seven Tools for Purposeful Parenting to help you regain control and bring peace into your household.

Tool #1: Parenting With Purpose
Choosing, communicating and pursuing clear and age-appropriate goals for your child will give them a sense of purpose. Your definition of success for your child must reflect your child's interests, skills and abilities -- not just yours. Two possible goals to consider are socialization and authenticity. Socialization means helping your child to become a responsible citizen, learning how to work in harmony with other people and to develop intimate and trusting relationships. Authenticity is fostered when you set goals suited to your child's interests, abilities and talents.

Tool #2: Parenting With Clarity
Communication between parents and their children is essential for building and maintaining a loving and productive relationship. Children need to feel they have certain power and influence, and giving them your full, undivided attention will promote that feeling. Listening is crucial. Children want to be heard and know their feelings are being considered. They want to have a perception of some power, some ability to create what they want.

Tool #3: Parenting By Negotiation
The first step in deciding how to approach a negotiation is to assess the kind of personalities you're dealing with. If you have a highly rebellious kid, you don't necessarily want to approach the negotiations in a heavy-handed way. Five critical steps to successful negotiation are:

• Narrow the area of dispute.
• Find out what it is they really want.
• Work to find a middle ground.
• Be specific in your agreement and the negotiation's outcome.
• Make negotiated agreements, shorter term in the beginning.

Tool #4: Parenting With Currency
If you want your child to behave appropriately, you have to set the standards for the behaviors you want. Too often, parents look only at undesirable behaviors, and their parenting styles dissolve into complaining and reacting. If you focus on developing the positive behaviors in your child, then the negative behaviors won't be so overwhelming. You also have to determine your child's currency, the reward that will increase the likelihood of that behavior occurring again.

Tool #5: Parenting Through Change
You must be willing to adopt a whatever-it-takes mentality. This may mean making major changes in your lifestyle – such as taking two weeks off work to establish a new family framework -- but drastic problems call for drastic solutions. Change can redefine roles, and a major shift of power can be temporarily unsettling to those who were running the show and having their way. Shaking up a family requires thoughtful planning.

Tool #6: Parenting in Harmony
You do not have to compete with distractions like TV, cell phones or video games. The best way to accomplish your mission for family control is to insist on an environmental cleanup. Start by listing your family's top 10 priorities, then list the top 10 time-wasters. If you find the priorities and values at the top of your first list are at the bottom of your time allocation list, you must consciously start reordering your time and energy commitments.

Tool #7: Parenting By Example
The most powerful role model in any child's life is the same-sex parent. Children watch what happens to family members when they succeed or fail, and those experiences become a reference for how they live. This is known as modeling. Through your actions, words, behavior and love, you can show your children how to be happy, well-balanced and fulfilled adults. Shed any negative attitudes. Dump self-destructive behavior patterns. Turn up the positive attitude.

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