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Intentional vs Accidental Parenting

Did I mean to do that?

Parenting can be daunting. You bring a child into this world with the huge responsibility of caring, nurturing, protecting and guiding them to be the best versions of themselves. Initially your source experience will come from the way you were parented yourselves. You might then think about those things you felt your own parents did well or not well and this will influence some of your parenting tactics.

Hopefully you will also gain information and advice from other sources, like friends who have already had children. You start researching, maybe taking a parenting course, browsing online (and finding sites like this!). Learning about 'Intentional vs Accidental Parenting' is a must feature in your approach to being a great single dad.

Active parenting

It all contributes to helping you to be ready for being a father and it alleviates some of the concerns and worries you might have about journeying to being a parent. It doesn't prepare you for everything. I don't think anything except experience really could.

Different Strategies

Now we all have different parenting strategies (or lack thereof). Some are similar to others and some radically different. We question the way some people parent their children and wonder things like how they could let them watch movies that aren't age appropriate, babysit them with iPads, smack them, yell at them, belittle them, put them in dangerous situations etc.

It's fair to say that some people don't even really parent at all. But those of us that do, we generally fall into one of two categories, intentional parenting or accidental parenting.

Intentional parenting is something my ex and I were keen to be actively doing from the outset. Intentional parenting means we plan our approach the morals, skills, traits and type of person we want our of our children to grow into. We know what we expect of them, then teach them accordingly. We expose them to situations and guide them through, explaining why we have these expectations and also get them to reflect on decisions they make. It's intentional, it's proactive, we look forward to where we want them to be and help set them on that path. That doesn't mean we force them to be someone they aren't, it just means we help them be the best versions of themselves, guiding them through 'life's big lessons'.

It Wasn't Me, It Was An Accident

By contrast, accidental parenting isn't intentionally planned and often done retrospectively. There isn't necessarily that forethought to where we see them headed and what sort of adult they want to grow up to be. Yes, there might be certain areas you actively plan, like giving them as much football training as possible to help them become a professional sporting athlete or practising the piano all hours to get them a place in the London Symphony Orchestra, but the personality traits, morals and other character aspects are missed. Accidental parenting occurs as a more reactive process when we try to fix issues as they arise. Of course this is just as important, as long as it does happen and parents seize teachable moments as they present themselves rather than let them slide.

Chances are you are already using both intentional and accidental parenting at different times for different aspects of your kids' lives. But being aware, planning ahead and laying down your expectations will certainly give you the edge in raising your children to be the best people they can be.

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