Approaching the Puzzle of Parenting
I looked for one word to describe the parenting job. I settled on "intricate" when I read Webster's definition: something hard to understand because it's full of puzzling parts and details. I can think of no other job that requires you to be more flexible and open-minded, or demands that you stay alert and focused day after day.
As intricate and complicated as the parenting job is, not enough people spend time creating a "parenting plan." A parenting plan is figuring out in advance how you will handle misbehavior and discipline issues. A good plan also lays out how you will instill the values that are important to you in your children. In a two-parent household, try your best to approach this as a team.
How Do You Get Started?
There are some basic rules of parenting to understand; making a plan will help you exercise those rules. The first step to this process is to find out what your strengths and weakness are. Once you recognize the areas where you are succeeding and identify the areas where you need to make changes, you can focus on finding answers and learning new skills, and creating your own parenting plan.
I've developed a fun self-assessment that will help you locate your strengths and weaknesses in the current way you parent—or if you aren't already parents, in how you envision your life as parents. It will help you see yourself more clearly.
Find a quiet corner and take this quiz. Be honest and thoughtful. The answers may surprise or even embarrass you, but reviewing them can help you analyze and improve your parenting style, and get you on the road to creating a successful parenting plan.