Everyone reading this has a slightly different perspective on what the “goals” of parenting are. Probably though, most of us haven’t even considered what those goals of parenting are, aside from keeping the kids alive from birth through to the age of eighteen.
Throw in some good grades at school, no unplanned teenage pregnancies and minimal drug and alcohol use and, after 20+ years of parenting, we’ll pat ourselves on the back and say “job well done” as we pack up their room into the pickup truck and escort them off to college.
Turns out that we might actually need to know a little bit more about what makes healthy and competent people, so that we can start giving our children the lessons and experiences that will give them the functional competencies (aka skills) that they’ll need to navigate life.
What are those skills? Turns out the list isn’t that long.
- Emotional Regulation is the ability to respond to your environment or the people in it instead of reacting. The ability to recognize and control those emotional responses instead of being controlled by them.
- Executive Function refers to a set of “higher order” thinking skills, namely the ability to problem solve, plan and follow through with goals and initiatives. Executive function also helps you focus, manage time and think critically.
- Communication is the ability to express your needs and values in ways that increase the likelihood that others will take them into consideration. Communication is something we generally think we understand, but it turns out we’re often pretty clueless.
- Self Efficacy is personal power. The ability to affect change in your own life through taking action, and the belief that you can accomplish what you set out to do.
- Compassion. This one is certainly a “Responsive” value…we believe that fundamentally humans are a social creature, and the ability to be empathetic, curious and non-judgmental to others is pretty important for long term relationships and a meaningful life.
Without each of those five competencies (and certain skillsets within them), which we’ll break down further along in this blog journey, it’s actually really hard to be a high functioning member of society.
And we’re pretty sure that, despite all the possible goals of parenting, raising low functioning kids isn’t on the list.