It’s easy to get caught up in the midst of the moment when it comes to parenting.
Even now as I write this my 4 year old daughter is throwing a fit because I will not help her do something she’s perfectly capable of doing herself.
If I take the bait of engaging in this showdown, I risk getting lost in the moment and losing focus on the end result – launching a self-sustaining adult.
Granted this launch is many years away, but parenting is easier when you keep the end result in mind.
It is safe to say that we all have fantasies about how our children will turn out.
There’s the dream of visiting them after they’re married and successful. You get to play with the grandchildren, bask in the warmth of the family time and reminisce about the wonderful experiences growing up together.
There are other times however when these dreams turn to nightmares. You see all the potential traps out there and are afraid they will fall victim to one or more of them.
At the basic level, forgetting all the wants you have for your child’s future for a moment, successful parenting can be measured by asking yourself one question. After your kids are grown and out of school, ask yourself this: are they taxpayers? That’s it.
If you can answer this with a yes, you did a great job.
If you keep end result in mind, you can better disengage in the moment during battles in order to focus on long term goals.
This is not a “sit back and hope for the best” style of parenting. Passivity is rarely the way to go. When you keep your main values and principles in mind as you parent, you’ll parent from the best in you. Not the emotionally reactive part of you.
I continue to get a great testing of this idea as I write, since my 4 year old is continuing her tantrum. I can feel my anxieties rising as I want to engage the situation and do it for her. By the way, the issue surrounding her tantrum, taking off one set of clothes in order to put on pajamas. Something she’s accomplished on her own many times before.
When I can calm down and soothe my anxieties, I can freely and rationally choose what to do next. In this case, she’s on her own.
With the end result in mind, the moments that come along as parents can be viewed with a better perspective.
And wouldn’t you know it, she just just came out of her room with her pajamas on!

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