“It is not about creating some outcome for the kids. It’s just about us coming together to figure out what values are really important to us, what type of adult we would like to launch, and how we can help them to get to that place.”
In Episode 70, I’m chatting with Amy Carney, author of Parent on Purpose: A Courageous Approach to Raising Children in a Complicated World.
In the course of raising triplets and another daughter just one year younger, Amy found herself simply “surviving” motherhood and came to the realization that she needed to be more proactive, instead of reactive, as a parent. Her intentional parenting philosophy contributed to her family’s courageous decision to disconnect from their busy lives and travel around the U.S. in an RV for seven months. With their children approaching ages 13 and 11, Amy and her husband felt that life was speeding by and an overhaul was needed. Their goal was to reclaim time together, to solidify the foundation of their relationships, and connect with their kids before they left home. So in 2014, they pulled out of the typical American life they led and went on a journey to find more happiness and unity.
In the book, Amy shares the lessons learned to help parents:
- LEAD — Visualize the end, determine your values and claim your authority. Pause and figure out your destination. As a family, ask yourselves: Where are you headed? Where do you want to go?
- LOVE — Play, disconnect to reconnect, create timeless traditions.
- LAUNCH — Prepare kids for adulthood by teaching them how to work.
- Make time for kids to volunteer and work outside of the home. A part-time job in a restaurant, retail store, or family business can be excellent training grounds for the real-life skills that kids need.
- Kids also need to do their share of work in the home, to contribute as part of the family. As they get older, they can take on more responsibilities such as cooking dinner and running family errands.
- We discuss ways parents can build their relationships with their children by doing less. Amy encourages parents to get off the sidelines of their children’s lives and create a culture that children will want to come back to, with fond childhood memories.
Amy: “Being stuck in a small space with a family of six forces you to work things out, to communicate — where at home if you have arguments, everyone could go to their rooms. That wasn’t possible. So we really learned how to communicate, to apologize, to come together, move on and become more flexible.”
Amy: “People ask if I homeschooled them. I ‘unschooled’ them. Our whole point was to get away from the stress and pressure and see there is so much more to the world. There are other things that are just as important as their formal education.”
Audrey: “I think in life we tend to not be intentional enough. Even with our own personal values. Often times we haven’t articulated them to ourselves or taken the time to reflect, so that we can, in turn, share them with others.”
Audrey: “It’s about bringing it into congruence. When your values and your actions aren’t matching up is when you don’t feel good about your life. But when they do, you feel much more at peace. This is where we want to be.”
Amy: “I see a lot of parents launching their kids with guilt and regret. Because their kids are gone and they didn’t do all the things they had hoped to do. I think if we look more to that end and parent today with that in mind, we will be able to launch them with a little more peace.”
Audrey: “I think that is what we all want, to launch our kids with core values that will help them have a really happy, healthy, successful life, full of good relationships, and to keep that connection with home, so they’ll want to come back and reconnect with their siblings.”
Amy: “I think it is really important that if kids are carrying cell phones and driving cars that they are working to contribute to those costs…We have to raise contributors, not just consumers.”
Read my post, One Simple Thing, for monthly parenting challenges for a happier, more connected family.
Listen to my podcast episode 68 to hear more about my 12 Parenting Tips.
Another great podcast is my interview with Jessica Alexander on The Danish Way of Parenting.
Amy lives with her husband and five children in Paradise Valley, Arizona. Follow Amy Carney:
Buy her book, Parent on Purpose, on Amazon. As a foster and adoptive parent, Amy donates proceeds from her book to benefit children living in the foster care system.