What is my goal in parenting?
I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Is my goal to have a happy child? Well, maybe. I definitely don’t want a sad or depressed child. However, is having a child who is always happy is reasonable or even a worthwhile goal? Happiness as a goal leads to pitfalls. For example, giving my child something they want will make them happy but they may miss out on the satisfaction of achievement. Also, happiness is, by nature a temporary state and therefore must be constantly chased.
So, is having a content child my goal? A successful child?
I started to realize, I am going about this backwards. Maybe the goal should not be a specific achievement but instead a type of journey. By focusing on the word goal, I really ams talking about what I want to achieve by parenting.
When I focus on what, I begin to measure by outside criteria. Immediately, I am faced with success or failure depending on the criteria I measure my child and I by. So,what criteria should I use? Can effective parenting be legislated? Is an effective parent determined solely by their actions? Do all effective parents do the exact same thing as other effective parents? Of course not. This is particularly true when parenting an atypical child.
While effective parents may use some common tools, there is something beyond just the tools used. So, then what is the why behind effective parenting? Why do I parent?
My initial response is, “to guide my child to fulfill their potential.” At first, this really seems to describe my parenting intentions. But then I am reminded of all the times that I am frustrated at a child who just didn’t seem interested in fulfilling the potential that I saw in them and yet, that child managed to be successful in their endeavors.
I am still struggling with this outside measurement – I will know that my parenting is succeeding if my child is fulfilling their potential as defined by me, the school, society, etc.
Then I listened to a podcast at Internet Business Mastery. They were talking about finding your single motivating purpose. They described your single motivating purpose as what you see as your contribution to humanity, what you will do that will impact your world, as the why behind everything that you do. “I wake up in the morning to do X in order for Y to happen.”
It was like a light came on for me. My purpose in my parenting is to give my child tools to find and fulfill their purpose in life.
The more I thought about it, the more it clicked. If my child is pursuing their purpose, they will be fulfilled in their activities, they will be engaged in their own life and they will be motivated. What more could I want as a parent?