Making a Parent Plan


I’ve been thinking a lot about planning lately.   We plan a lot of things in our lives.  Here are a few that have been on my mind just over the past couple of weeks:

  • Planning high school courses for my oldest child who will be a freshman next year.  They encourage not just planning for high school, but for after high school and to start planning now!
  • Strategic planning for Heart of the Matter Seminars–I have to say that this isn’t something I would normally be all into, but  I attended a really great workshop on this topic at the Joint Council on International Children’s Services conference last week that motivated me.
  • Planning meals–blah!  One of my least favorite chores, but better than going to the store every night.
  • Planning by the calendar… isn’t it amazing how quickly the weeks and weekends fill up?
  • Planning my garden and flower beds.

About a dozen years ago, when Julie and I were in the beginning stages of Heart of the Matter Seminars, she wanted to be sure to talk about making a plan regarding how you intend to parent.  Honestly, my initial reaction (being “the Science Girl”) was to go yeah, yeah, nice touchy feely stuff, but let’s really talk about the issues and what to do about them.   However, I soon came to realize how right she really was about how important making a parenting plan is.

Our Because They Waited system helps parents make a parenting plan that is based on research and science.  Just like strategic planning for business, it is less about specific techniques or how to get something done, but really deciding where you want to go and then choosing how you are going to get there.   Here’s an example:

Parenting with a plan:

  • Parent decides that the goal is to parent in a way that helps child develop the ability to self-regulate their emotions.
  • Parent understands the science behind how this brain based skills develops or does not develop. Also understands when it typically develops.
  • Parent obtains parenting techniques like Time In that make sense given the science they know.
  • Here’s the really important part: Child throws a fit over being told “no”.  Parent is better able to implement these techniques because they have thought it through, made a commitment, have decided it’s important and believe that the these techniques will impact not just the immediate situation, but their long-term goal of helping child develop self-regulation.

Parenting without a plan:

  • Parent uses whatever information they have (both correct information and incorrect information!) in their everyday parenting.
  • Here we can cut right to the chase:  Child throws a fit over being told “no”.  Parent is more likely to react to that specific behavior (throwing a fit) and parent the behavior.  Reacting is not the same as engaging a plan.
  • Child may or may not be receiving (then, or throughout their childhood) what they need to develop the ability to control their own emotions.

So, we have to ask ourselves, do we have a plan?  If so, what is the plan based on?  Is the plan working? (think short-term AND long-term)   Could it be fleshed out and added to? (our recorded courses are a great resource for this!)  Is it time to re-evaluate the plan and see what’s going well and what areas could be shored up?

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One Response to “Making a Parent Plan”

  1. Confessions of a Not So Perfect Parent… « Heart to Heart Blog | adoption education Says:

    […] Katie mentioned in her recent blog I have long been a promoter of parent plans.  I think they are essential for all parents but […]

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