Being a Purposeful Parent

Being a Purposeful Parent

Have you ever heard of Purposeful Parenting? This parenting practice encourages parents and kids to connect in productive and healthy ways. Children are amazing, but we must understand that they are human, and their brains are constantly developing. So, we should expect mistakes and be prepared to handle them. Purposeful parenting ensures that parents are connecting before they are correcting. It also helps parents discipline (i.e., teach) their children instead of punishing (i.e., teaching by hurting) to let them know the boundaries. Here are some easy ways to be a purposeful parent.

The first thing to consider is being mindful of your words and actions. Sometimes, parents’ words do not match their actions. If you tell your child no, they cannot have a cookie, but after they have cried for a little bit, you give them a cookie—your ”no” lost meaning. The child has learned all they have to do is cry enough to get what they want. In purposeful parenting, your words and actions need to match. No means no. Take it further and give a valid reason for your decision. Saying no to cookies because your child has already had one and too many sweets can be harmful is a reasonable explanation instead of “because I said so.” When your actions match your words, they have a powerful meaning.

Since we are talking about words, use them to communicate your expectations to your child(ren) and actively listen to their expectations. If there are any gray areas, openly discuss them and agree on a compromise. The back and forth conversation will help teach your children to negotiate, which is a vital life skill. Be mindful of your expectations, and don’t seek perfection because that is not realistic. Base your expectations on your child’s developmental stage and what you know they can do. For example, it would be unrealistic to expect a 2-year-old to sit in one spot without talking for more than a few minutes, but a 12-year-old should be able to sit quietly for a longer time.

Finally, spend time with your children individually. Your relationship with your child is essential for their development throughout life. Spending time with them teaches them that they are special, loved, and can trust you in good or bad times. Let them be in control to make the time you spend together even more special. This can look like your 2-year-old reading their favorite book to you five times or your 15-year-old teaching you how to do a TikTok dance. They will remember how you made them feel more than anything else.

Having the skills to be loving and warm and to teach boundaries to your children can be challenging, but it is well worth it. Making sure that your words have meaning through matching your words and actions, communicating expectations, and spending quality time with your children can be a great start to being a purposeful parent. Happy Purposeful Parenting!


Monet Somerville, MS
Parent Educator

Monet received her Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology from North Carolina Wesleyan College. She then went on to receive her Master’s in Science in Psychology with a Concentration in Child and Adolescent Development from Capella University. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Developmental Psychology with a Concentration in Child and Adolescent Development. Monet is also a licensed Trust Based Relational Intervention Practitioner.

Prior to working to The Parenting Center, Monet worked as a Case Manager in a residential facility for adolescent girls who were in foster care but were unable to be placed in a foster home. She also taught foster parents about child development and the impacts that positive parenting can make on a child.