10 Questions to Encourage Engaged Parenting in 2010

good job, dad“As the last days of 2009 tick off of the calendar, many people are drawn to introspection and reflection. For parents, these last days of the year offer space to sit down and intentionally consider how you are working to become the parent you want to be for your children.” [via simplemom.net]

Parenting Personality
1. How do you think your children have experienced you as a parent in 2009?
Well, I am lucky enough to be able to work from home (as does my DH), so I get to spend a lot of time with my daughter. However, I am aware that she is a sensitive soul, and yet I can be quick and sharp when addressing her misbehavior. So, I think she saw me as available but was timid of my reactions.

2. How do you want your children to experience you as a parent in 2010?
I would like Syna to experience me as a loving, supportive, truly engaged, calm and assertive mommy.

Hit the Highlights
3. What aspects of parenting brought you the most joy in 2009?
Doing more family activities was certainly a highlight this year. At 3 years old, Syna is such a joy to watch explore and discover new places, ideas and people. Our summer was a total blast; we went to Block Island, Rehoboth Beach and Old Orchard Beach. And she had her first day of preschool!

4. What are you looking forward to with great anticipation in 2010?
I’m looking forward to spending more quality time with Syna – to be more active (she loves when we do yoga together); to be more involved in her learning; to have more adventures and laughs.

Strengths and Challenges
5. As you survey your parenting toolbox, which tools do find to be working well for your family, and which tools could use some sharpening?
I have to say my past working experiences help me to understand focusing on the behavior, not the child and relevant consequences instead of punishment. However, my tools for responding to charged situations need sharpening. I think I do a pretty good job at holding back knee-jerk “no’s” to Syna’s requests. It can be difficult to say “go for it!” when she asks if she can dip her cookies in ketchup, or to get up off the couch when she wants to show me how the fish is swimming silly again.

Building Connections
6. How have you pursued your children in the past year?
I have been very intentional when giving Syna great hugs, taking the time to really focus on her and give her a firm, loving squeeze. I think I may tell her I love her too much. ;)

7. What actions will you take to be more engaged with your child in 2010?
In the coming year I will encourage Syna to choose any activity daily that I will then support and join her in doing.

Mending Missteps
8. Is there any aspect of your relationship with your child that has been strained by unforgiveness or regret?
I do regret that I have been hard on her at times. My attempts at developing her character are often misguided in that I think of her as developmentally older. With her 99th percentile height and her incredible vocabulary, it’s so hard to remember she’s 3.

9. Is there an unresolved issue for which you need to offer your child forgiveness, or do you need to ask for forgiveness from your child?
I recently became aware of how she felt about my reactions and have asked for her forgiveness and begun to respond more kindly and appropriately.

10. What actions will you take to nurture a healthy connection with your children in 2010?
Family date night (Saturday) has begun to develop, and I would like to make it more meaningful and enjoyable by doing more new and intentional activities. I truly look forward to the coming year.

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