Parenting with a Purpose

Parents today are bombarded with expectations, social media and busy lives—all of which can be overwhelming. To support parents and help build strong, positive and functional families, July is National Purposeful Parenting Month. This designation recognizes the importance of meaningful relationships between parents and children and encourages “parenting with a purpose”—listening, sharing in discussions and showing up for your family.

In a nutshell, purposeful parenting is designed to spark growth and connection with kids by establishing:

  • Structure and order
  • Responsibility and accountability
  • Firmness and fairness
  • Limits and boundaries
  • Consistency
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Understanding
  • Unconditional love

“While purposeful parenting is positive, it also recognizes that kids really need structure and boundaries as well,” said Dr. David Clay. “I think of it as being really present and aware, which isn’t always easy but is definitely important and effective.”

Some examples of purposeful parenting in action include:

  • Give your kids chores. Regular household chores help kids learn about responsibility and contributing to the family—while they might complain, chores support both the household and individual growth.
  • No means no—the first time. Don’t let a no turn into a maybe or a yes. Be consistent and firm.
  • Let your children have a voice. It is important that kids feel seen and heard; while you establish the rules, let them weigh on issues such as family activities and expectations.
  • Provide fair options. If your child suddenly doesn’t want to go to a playdate or event that’s been on the calendar, ask “would you rather bring your stuffy or a truck to play with your friend?” This simple option gives even the youngest kids a greater sense of control.
  • Do things as a family. Take bike rides. See a concert or sporting event. Walk to the neighborhood ice cream store. Let them know that family time matters.
  • Limit screentime—for everyone. Spend time that is free of cell phones, TV, laptops and tablets.

“Not every moment will be perfect, but when we give our kids our undivided attention and enjoy time as a family, we let them know how much they matter,” Dr. Clay added.


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