Its about the process...

We often spend time during parenting classes identifying our long term parenting goals, and puzzling out which tools work towards that end.  Participants begin to recognize that some of the techniques that we as parents use work for the short term, but generally don't solve problems or change our child's behavior in the long term.  The magic really starts to happen when parents begin to recognize that it isn't so much the outcome that we should focus on, but the process of getting to that outcome that matters most.

Last week I was fortunate enough to spend time with many different parents who are in the thick of parenting young children.  This is such an intense time for families, and hard to get perspective.  Challenges that were shared included looking for balance and calm, older children who seem to be disconnected, toddlers with sleep issues, anticipation about new babies on the way...  Typical challenges that feel as though they will drown you in the moment.  Yes, parenting is a labour of love, but there are many times when we may not really like it.

And guess what?  Its not always fun.

But when we start to look beyond the behavior, past the challenges, there is a path that will lead us to a place of connection with our kids.  And that is where the magic happens.  Any child, no matter how challenging their behavior may seem, is longing for connection and a way to belong.  When we can see  past the things that are driving us mad, and work on building relationship, we are moving towards long term parenting goals.

That is what the process is all about.  The process is about the relationship we are building while we are  parenting our kids.  We strengthen our relationship with our kids when we invite them to make bedtime routine charts, when respect and problem solving is celebrate during family meetings.  We strengthen our relationship when we validate our kids feelings and give them tools to self regulate, when we are kind and firm, and allow them to feel disappointed.  We strengthen our relationship with our kids when we make time for cuddling with each child before bed.  This connection and relationship building is the process, it is our path towards raising children who are self-reliant, cooperative, capable human beings.
This path also invites us to enjoy parenting our children.