Are you all set?
Far, far away from our minds, a distant memory perhaps? What am I talking about, you ponder? The Christmas break and festivities. I am sure for many people, it feels like an event of the past. For others, during that period their focus has remained on friends and family. I believe our focus should still remain on that.
I often find the New Year as a good time for some introspection – a personal reflection which involves looking back at my interaction with family and friends, the experiences, events, achievements, lessons learnt and so on. This encourages and enables me to plan and prepare for the year ahead.
As we know life is unpredictable and no matter how well you plan, unfortunately, you sometimes find that life gives you a heavy punch which can lead to a ‘mind-blowing and earth-shattering situations’ that if you were an amateur boxer you may even consider hanging up your gloves and retiring from the profession.
Despite the unpredictability of life, it is still necessary to have some form of ‘law and order’ in place in the name of family and parenting plans. I am a firm believer that no matter the type of blows or lemons that life throws at you, you will always find ways to get through it. No matter how bad things may seem, time is the greatest healer and as such you will overcome whatever challenges you may face in due course.
Planning and setting goals are worth doing, however, it must be for the right reasons. Set your goals based on what your family needs and if you believe that it will be beneficial. For instance if you believe that it will help to solidify love, happiness, peace and the value system that you have. Like most things, you will need to want to do it and be willing to see it through. The goals should be tailored to meet your family’s needs – unique to you!
I also believe that setting goals should be a long-term commitment, particularly if you want it to work and not be short-lived. It is important that the goals are monitored from time to time and not left until the end date to check the progress. Long-term goals allow you room to be flexible and adapt to possible changes that may occur during the time set. I am aware that in some cases short-term goals are necessary and effective.
Why set parenting goals? As a parent, I would set goals due to my desire to raise happy, healthy, organised, responsible, confident, resilient and hard-working adults for the future.
Take health, for instance, one of the goals I would set as a parent for my children would include not just healthy eating and exercising but goals dealing with their mental health and emotional well-being.
As obvious as it may seem, I will still mention that young people in the family should be consulted and involved in goal setting, particularly if it will apply to them. The chances of achieving the desired result are higher if young people have an input in the goal setting rather than if they were excluded.
An example of goal setting under this heading would be say, where children have indicated that they will continue playing netball (a sport which they enjoy). This, in fact, covers both physical and emotional health as they will be participating in sports that they enjoy which will act as a way of relaxation and taking a break from their studies.
In terms of mental health and emotional health as part of the goal setting, discussions can be held and strategies put in place to help the children cope with anxiety, the pressures of daily living and of course school work particularly dealing with exams. These can include helping the children to communicate effectively, being organised and preparing in advance of work/tasks that they are given, taking breaks, having sufficient sleep and revisiting tasks when they are less tired.
I was asked by a mother about core areas with which to help set more goals for children. My advice is that one should start by considering the outcome of potential goals. In doing so, there are key questions that you will need to ask. What do you want to achieve as a parent? Why do you feel it is necessary to set goals for your children? How will you achieve it? How will you know if you’ve achieved it?
Setting goals for the children do not have to be solely to help them to improve in certain areas, it could also be to inspire them to pursue a passion, it could be to help them become more socially adept, to be consistent in a particular area, it could be for many different reasons. It is for you and your children to decide on the appropriate goals which will be beneficial to them and the family.
Further examples of goals that parent could consider are: teaching the children to become more independent, teaching and engaging them in house chores, reading, studying, doing homework on time, learning a new task, dealing with anxiety, managing stressful and challenging situations, improvement on personal hygiene, continuing with their act of kindness , being content, volunteering, giving to charities, healthy eating plans, exercising, engaging in extracurricular activities, personal development, finance, friendships, faith, communication, family activities, family values and beliefs.
Goal setting will require you to also think about who else may need to be involved to ensure that the goals are met. In addition, you will need to consider resources, places, time and availability of people and things.
All goals should be measurable, achievable and realistic. It is pointless setting goals which are unrealistic, unachievable and you have no means of assessing and checking targets.
It may all seem daunting but it is not. This is something that many engage in regularly. It takes planning, energy, inspiration and working closely with your children to help them make a positive impact on their lives.
Do not fear, it is doable, grab some enthusiasm and go for it, good luck!