What exactly is Proactive Parenting?
It sounds like a word you would find in business books, that’s because it is.
I’ve found that we have to approach parenting sometimes, like running a successful business, if we want to be a success at it and produce successful children.
After all, our children are our business.
We can’t leave how they turn out to chance, or allow anyone else to take credit or responsibility for who they become either. As parents we have the most power and control to influence them, and if we do so positively, we will end up with happy, healthy and successful children.
Simply put, being proactive is taking action in advance, and pre-emp-ting our children’s moves and emotions. In essence, its hands-on parenting.
A lot of us parents are reactive.
We react to situations and our children’s behaviour in the moment. Now I’m an advocate of what I call ‘Present Parenting’, which is all about living in the present moment and being conscious of the time we spend with our children, but what I witness on a daily basis is far from that.
I see parents reacting unconsciously, out of habit, to unwanted behaviour and situations, usually fuelled with emotions.
As busy parents its hard not to react this way, but as proactive parents, we want to prevent those circumstances arising in the first place.
I know it’s hard not to get upset and angry with our children sometimes, but we can lessen the chances of that happening by, pre-empting problems before they affect our children and planning ahead in advance. Taking -action to prevent problems, as opposed to dealing with them or reacting once they have occurred.
It’s thinking ahead of situations and how they may affect our children, and being sensitive to their individual needs and emotions.
This approach enables us to take steps to make things easier, not only for our children, but ourselves too. Helping us to feel more organised and in control, and as a result, increases our self- confidence.
Resulting in a lot less stress for everyone.
As a childminder, caring for children varying in ages, from eleven months to eleven years and over, being proactive is a necessity.
I have to be one step ahead at all times, as a matter of health and safety.
A simple day out at the beach, can be like a military operation.
But always, all the children know;
- How I expect them to behave?
- What will we do before, during and after our visit?
- What to do if there’s a problem, such as someone goes missing or is lost.
Thankfully and lucky enough, that has never happened to a child I care for (other than my own).
But if it did or should it do so in the future, I know I would have told all the children what to do in the event of that happening.
It’s not being paranoid or overly anxious, it’s being proactive.
Now you may only have one child to care for, so may not feel a back-up plan necessary on an outing?
But there’s been numerous times where I have found many lost toddlers, wandering around a supermarket in tears, while their parents are frantically searching for them.
It happens every -day.
A simple; ‘If you can’t find me, go straight to the security guard on the door dressed like a policeman’ Helps reduce this stress, and prevents our children crying to a random stranger or wandering out to the car park to find us, where, different danger could present itself.
I say this because it happened to me with my own child, when they were younger. And I don’t want it to happen to you, if you can avoid it.
I can still feel that panic as I realised, I didn’t know where my child was, what they were doing or who they are with?
As a parent, I bet you can imagine that feeling now?
It’s a sinking, sick feeling of impending doom and disaster, as a whole host of catastrophic images flash through your mind.
Then relief suddenly washes over you, as you spot them holding hands with a lovely lady, who’s helping them search for you.
While your little one’s innocently smiling, clutching at a bag of sweets that had tempted them to wander off!