I’ll remain calm at all times.
School lunch boxes will contain only organic food.
There will be less Minecraft and more actual craft.
I’m not going to react (next time) when my son chases the cat with a lightsaber while I’m on a client video call.
Some great goal setting, right?
Not really, because I’m setting myself up to fail.
We all know that being a parent is hard, yet we make it even harder on ourselves by striving to achieve unrealistic parenting goals.
Instead of surrendering to the chaos though, we could learn how to use parent goal setting with attainable goals to help us become better parents.
Parent Goal Setting
Have you thought about what you want to achieve as a parent?
What memories do you want to create for your child? What kind of relationship do you want with your child?
Goal setting for parents is important for modeling the behavior and values you want for your children, as well as relationship building.
Your goal setting should help you become the parent you want to be, but they should also be achievable.
The goals should be focused on what you can do as a parent to support your child’s strengths and weaknesses, and empower them to be successful.
Ask yourself what outcomes you want for your child and what actions would help achieve these.
SMART Goal Setting
Like business and professional goal setting, the best parenting goals are SMART goals.
SMART goals are:
- Specific – they’re not vague.
Eg. Help my child become more independent vs. Help my child so they can dress themselves within two months.
- Measurable – the results can be measured.
Eg. Spend more one-on-one time with my child vs. Dedicate 30 minutes every day to a one-on-one activity of my child’s choice.
- Actionable – they start with a powerful action word or verb.
Eg. Be more patient vs. Stop and take three deep breaths whenever I feel myself losing my temper.
- Realistic – this is possibly the most important criteria for parenting goals. Your goals must be achievable.
Eg. Pack only healthy lunches vs. Involve my child in choosing healthier options for their lunchbox.
- Time-bound – associate a timeframe for when your goal must be completed.
Eg. Help my child improve their reading vs. Help my child go up two reading levels this term.
Goals should be written down and limited to a realistic number.
Achieving your parenting goals is never going to be completely smooth sailing, so it’s important to celebrate yours and your child’s wins no matter how small.
You may even like to use this process for helping your child set their own goals.
Reviewing Your Goals
It’s important to regularly monitor and evaluate your goals for progress, and identify any actions that need to be taken.
Get Help with Parenting Goals
You may wish to get help from a counselor who can work directly with you and your family to identify and achieve your goals. Therapy can also help improve communication, self-esteem, and parenting skills.