Identification of the Short & Long-term Goals during the Upbringing of Children
Raising a child from birth to adulthood is a challenging job, full of learning and beautiful experiences. Still, many families start this journey without thinking about where they want to go. That is why, today, I want to share with you how to identify parenting goals and why it’s important to consider and implement them.
Let’s imagine the following situation: It is a typical morning in your house, your child is getting ready for school, and it is getting late. What do you want him/her to do? What are your goals that morning? Write in your phone or on a piece of paper five things that you expect your child to do before school that morning.
Ready? Now let’s see what kind of goals to listed.
Have you included duties like: dressing quickly, eating all the breakfast, listening to your orders? Those are short-term goals. The short-term goals are those tasks that parents want their children to do immediately, that are functional in a specific moment, and that are necessary for the daily co-existence.
Now let’s do a second exercise.
Imagine that your son or daughter is about to be 21 years old. Close your eyes and imagine how he/she is going to have transformed into an adult. What kind of person would you like him/her to be? What type of relationship do you expect to have with him or her? Make a list of five characteristics that you would like in your child when he/she reaches 21 years old.
Did you write things like: be close to the family, take care of you when you are old, have a good partner, be independent, be honest, be friendly with people, be responsible in his/her career?
Those are long-term goals, and they are what parents usually want from their children when they grow up. The long-term goals take a lot of time to archive. They include those wishes that we have for our kids: to become responsible, proactive, good parents, empathic, sensible, resolve conflicts effectively, have good communication skills amongst others.
Thinking in Short & Long-term at the Same Time
Now, here comes the trick. It is quite easy to identify the short and long-term goals that we want for our children, however, the problematic side is to conciliate the short-term goals with the long-term goals.
Going back to the first exercise, where your child is getting ready for school, is late and he/she needs to have breakfast, brush his/her teeth and go out on time. Everything that you want is him/her to get ready, and he/she is doing everything in slow motion. Yes, you are starting to get tense and frustrated and ready to yell at him/her.
Maybe a stronger tone towards your child will make him/her move faster, and you archive your short-term goal, BUT what happened with your long-term goals? When you yell at a child, are you thinking about the goals of he/she being an adult with excellent communication skills or being friendly with people?
The way that we act in daily situations is a model for the children. Through the imitation of their parents, children learn how to socialise, manage the stress, resolve conflicts and express their emotions. If we yell when we are angry or stressed, you should expect them to do the same. Parents often react to short-term frustrations in ways that block long-term goals.
How can you archive both short and long-term goals?
Look at the short-term challenges as an opportunity to work on long-term goals. When you feel stressed or angry because your child is not doing what you asked, there is your opportunity to teach something more important: how to express emotions by talking, not yelling.
In the small actions every day you can:
- Find long-term solutions that develop children’s self-discipline.
- Clearly communicate your expectations, rules, and limits to your children.
- Build a mutually respectful relationship with them.
- Teach them skills that will be useful for a lifetime.
- Increase your child’s ability and self-confidence to handle challenges.
- Teach them courtesy, non-violence, empathy, self-love, human rights and respect for others.
As I mentioned at the beginning, parenting is a process of learning, that sometimes can be challenging, but in the LONG-TERM will be extremely satisfying.
Stay healthy, stay safe!
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