Do you ever stop to think about how you are doing as a parent? How would you rate your parenting skills?
One of Richard’s most common sayings is, “Apply your mind”. Are you “applying your mind” to your parenting, or are you drifting along without much thought?
Becoming a better parent takes being intentional.
Applying your mind.
One way of doing this is to conduct a parenting audit. To evaluate what’s working and what’s not, and how you can improve.
A parenting audit is an intentional review of all the areas of parenting to see where and how you can improve.
You will make notes of things that need changing and the specific areas that need attention, and then be intentional about working on those areas. You will also come back and review those specific issues and evaluate them.
Plan on evaluating your parenting at least once a month. On top of that, have a short “Parent’s Meeting” once a week to discuss any issues, the plan for the upcoming week, appointments, or adjustments to the family schedule.
Do the following steps:
#1 Download and print the Parenting Audit Pack (fill in the form below)
#2 Schedule a time to do the audit. Budget an hour of uninterrupted time for this exercise.
#3 Pray before you begin, and ask God to guide you and reveal His will for your family.
#4 Do the evaluation
#5 Set a date for your next parenting audit where you will review the notes you took.
Parenting has lots of different aspects to it. Be sure to take the time to consider all the areas of your parenting and do a thorough audit.
Consider your own attitude toward your kids and parenting. Are you engaged or detached? Are you cheerful or grumpy most of the time? Do you smile at your kids?
Are you seeking to improve as a parent or are you doing the bare minimum?
Consider your children’s attitudes. Are they rebellious? Are they compliant but sullen? Do they obey you cheerfully and willingly?
How do your kids respond to you? Are they respectful or rude, rolling their eyes and huffing when you ask them to help around the house? Do they listen and follow directions when you speak?
It takes self-discipline to discipline. The reality is we don’t always feel like disciplining and training our kids.
Are you following through and giving consequences when your kids don’t obey?
Are you erring on the side of being too harsh or too lenient? Do you have a balance with your discipline or is it hit and miss?
Are you in agreement as a couple on how to discipline your kids?
Related: 3 Ways to get your kids to listen
In order for a home to run smoothly your children need to know what’s expected of them. Don’t assume they will automatically know what you expect of them.
Are your expectations clear? Do you know that your children know what’s expected of them?
Are you consistent with your rules or do they change from day to day depending on how you feel?
Communication is the lifeblood of relationship. This is true for marriage but also for the relationship with your kids.
How do you generally speak to your kids? Are you impatient with them or do you explain things to them calmly?
How do you speak to your kids when they make mistakes? Do you use the language of encouragement or are you breaking your children down with your words?
Is there enough communication about daily life in the family? Does everyone know what’s on the schedule?
Do you make time for meaningful conversations with your kids and really listen to them? Do they feel understood?
Consider that your household is a business and your family is the team running it. Are your kids participating and contributing to the family “business” by doing chores?
If so, are the chores being done cheerfully and promptly or do you have to constantly remind your kids to do their chores?
Related: 12 Reasons to give your kids chores
The home is the place where character is developed. Are your kids growing in character?
What areas need attention? (make a list for each child)
Download and print the Character Evaluation form for each child and start building your children’s characters by cultivating the opposite traits. Here are some ideas of character traits to cultivate:
Part of character building is developing good manners – both social and table manners. Be sure to highlight areas that need attention here.
What is the speed of life in your household? Is there time for spontaneous conversations about important things? Kids don’t always choose the best times to open up their hearts and if your life is too rushed and overscheduled you will likely miss wonderful opportunities to connect as a family.
What fun things can you plan for your family to help you connect?
Related: How to get your teen to talk to you
Spiritual growth is as important as physical and emotional growth. As the parents, you are responsible for helping your children grow in this area.
Do you have family devotional time? How would you rate it? Are your kids bored? Do they participate? Are you making it interesting for them or are you just getting it done?
Are you presenting a balance of God’s love and His law and are you demonstrating true Christian living yourself? (remember, more is caught than taught.)
Nurture implies time and focused attention. Are you giving each child the attention they need or are one or more being neglected?
Do you take the time to listen when your child wants to talk or do you brush them off?
Are you giving affirmation and affection, reassuring your kids that they are special and loved?
As your children grow they will need increasing amounts of healthy independence appropriate for their age.
Sometimes we fall into the trap of doing too much for our kids and do things for them they could be doing for themselves.
Evaluate where you are giving to much or too little independence. Are you training your children to become less and less dependent on you?
Evaluate the activities your children are involved in. Do they get enough outdoor exercise or do they spend too much time indoors on technology?
If you don’t have rules for technology use then work on creating some. Do you monitor your children’s social media use? How can you do this better?
The first place kids learn to be social is in the home. Are you meeting your kids’ social needs by having regular family time and eating together daily? If your children are too busy socially then how can you cut back on that to make time for family social activities?
It’s important to have some “just family” times to keep your bond as a family.
A regular evaluation of your parenting will make you better parents and keep you, as a couple, on the same page. As you do this you will find your home running more smoothly.
But this requires being intentional about evaluating and making changes.
Because, if nothing changes, nothing changes.
Above all, remember that how we parent has a direct impact on our children’s eternal life, and that should shake us all awake and help us apply our minds to parenting.
Do you do a regular parenting audit? If not, set a date for your first audit and plan for it.