Are you a Proactive or Reactive Parent?

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“Where there is no vision, the people perish” Proverbs 29:18

When life comes your way, are you constantly “reacting”? As a single mom I must admit that many times I was a “reactionary mom”. I ran from crisis to crisis. Sure it would have been ideal to “plan” my response to each unexpected incident my children encountered. Oh I had a plan. I would raise them right, feed them, say prayers before bed and ensure they did well in school. But as a single mom, I had a hard time just finding time to plan and be proactive. This became especially critical in the teen years. If I had not learned how to be a proactive parent, my influence would have been reduced to zero. One of the best decisions I ever made was to avoid the blame game and become an influential parent.

Before you become an influential parent, you must plan to be proactive. Proactive single parents choose their responses to life, they don’t find fault and blame others for their circumstances. Proactive parents don’t mope around having a pity party. This type of parent has positive internal dialogue such as I can be successful if I choose. I can learn something new or I can choose my response towards others.

Do you find yourself anticipating problems or blaming others? Are you still “reacting” to the past, to things you can do nothing about? Reactive single parents live in a state of flux and blame. They often feel they have no control over what happens. For reactive parents, you will often hear “I couldn’t because…” or “it’s my ex’s fault” or “They won’t let me”. Unfortunately, this type of thinking gives power away instead of harnessing, redirecting and empowering yourself.

How does a parent get out of the reactive parenting cycle? On purpose planning and on purpose change of internal dialogue. As you are planning your parenting choices, you will need to take a look at three phases.

Planning Phase:

In the planning phase, the single parent is thinking about the next day or week or the coming year. You are planning what you want to happen and how you respond to each event or stimuli and even those unexpected poor report cards. You are also directing your internal dialogue to a more positive station. On the positive station you will hear phrases such as “I will”, “I choose”, or “I can”. I choose to ensure my children are educated well. I will not blame teachers or exes or friends.

Execution Phase:

Execution Phase either involves total chaos or limited stress depending on how well you complete phase 1. It is during this phase that I am checking progress, watching my responses and ensuring that I am in-line with my planning outline. My planning outline is my bible during this phase.

Analysis Phase:

In the analysis phase, you are revisiting the event or events and scoring yourself on planning and execution. Because if something went terribly wrong, it means I did not complete phase 1 and 2 thoroughly. In this phase you are taking notes on what you did well and what needs to improve. Notice you first note what you did well. Harness your power and belief that there will be something successful out of each event, day, month that is part of your proactive planning.

To be sure, there will be mishaps. Mistakes will happen. The difference between a mistake and complete chaos is proper planning, positive dialogue and proficient execution. I CAN!

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