For You General

Being A Present Parent

Present parentingWhat does it mean to be a –present parent’?  Does it mean to show up at all of your child’s soccer matches or at their ballet recitals? Does it mean to be at home every evening with your child? No! The term present means being there in both mind (being conscious) and body and being aware and interacting with your child on a daily basis.

Life in this day and age is not for sissies! Parents have a never-ending list of things that must be done both at work and at home and not only are parents wholly responsible for bringing in the bacon, they need to prepare the bacon, cook it and still find the energy and time to raise a family, feed the dog, figure out their taxes and pay their bills.

Life is fast paced and busy and most parents are more than happy to go home, relax and zone out! The family’s interaction is limited to a few grunts over a rushed meal while watching TV and parents and kids eventually become like passing ships in the night – never spending enough time alongside to really interact and connect, to be really present and to be fully aware.

Most of us live our lives being continually absent. We never take time out to smell the roses! We drive home often zoned out and we are almost completely unaware of what is happening around us.


Make the choice to be present today!

Let’s think back to life pre-TV. Most adults will probably find it hard (if not impossible) to remember the years before television, however before there was a box doing all the entertaining, parents and children interacted. Most parents were present. They sat down to eat meals together – as a family. Since nobody needed to rush off to watch the news or watch the latest happenings in the soaps, meal times were generally relaxed and pleasant. Children shared stories about their day with their parents and present parents heard stories about their child’s friends, their favourite teachers, etc. However, being present does not mean getting rid of the TV set – it does mean changing habits in order to become present.  Clear off the old dining room table, turn off the TV and insist that the family sits down to at least one meal together per day. Make sure that all Blackberries, cell phones and laptops are turned off or put away, and simply take pleasure in each other’s company and presence. Encourage your kids to talk to you about their day and listen (really listen) to what they have to say.

To be present we need to be aware! How many times has your toddler or child tried to tell you something and you were too busy to listen to what they were saying. We are all guilty of it. We are so busy trying to do more, trying to take on more that we often miss out on the simple things! A present parent will (if possible) stop what they are doing and give their child their undivided attention. Look them in the eyes and show them that you are listening and above all you are hearing them.


Ways to become more present

There are a number of ways to become more present, more conscious and to connect with kids.

  • Turn off the radio when your child is in the car and connect with them. Remain quiet or listen (being present doesn’t necessarily mean talking).
  • Simplify your life. So many of us are trying to do it all. We’re under the impression that the busier we are and the more activities our kids have, the better parents we are. This is not the case. If your schedule is too full and too many activities are jammed into one day – you will not have the chance to be aware as you will be too busy worrying about when the next activity starts.
  • Learn to say no! No may be a negative word but using it as and when needed will have a positive impact in your life. If you’re saying yes to too many people, you are spreading yourself way too thin! Balance your time and use your time wisely. Time is precious!
  • Ask for help! Requesting help from your spouse or partner is not a sign of failure. If you feel that you are doing too much, ask your partner or a friend or relative to help out with some duties.  In order to be a present parent you need to have time – you must be able to give your child or children the time that they deserve and if you are doing too much, you won’t have the time. Being a supermom does not make you a better parent. The time you spend rushing kids to ballet or swimming lessons is robbing you of the chance to be a present and conscious parent.


Why is it important to be present?

The answer is simple! Kids grow at an alarming rate and life flies by! Within a few years a newborn baby will be a toddler, preschooler then a teen. When we invest our time in our child’s lives we are building up a relationship of trust and closeness that will last a lifetime. When kids see that you have a genuine interest in their lives, in their feelings and in them, they will feel more comfortable approaching you with their problems. Being present today is building a sturdy and solid foundation for your child to enjoy tomorrow.

When we’re not present we miss out on all the good things. The simple pleasures that life has to offer. Spend a few minutes watching your baby play, take time out to watch your toddler exploring his surroundings or spend some time just being in the presence of your child. Connect and enjoy each other’s company and discover the true joys of parenting! Choose to become a present parent today and make time for your children!

“Life brings simple pleasures to us every day. It is up to us to make them wonderful memories.”
— Cathy Allen

Related Posts

Leave a Reply