July is National Purposeful Parenting month. Purposeful Parenting is a movement that has gained popularity over the last decade. It is based on the belief that when the parental role is established with proactive intentionality and thorough understanding about child development, the ability of children to fulfill their potential and have more options available to them increases.
Purposeful Parenting has strong roots in the age-old debate between the roles of nature versus nurture in development. Prior to this movement, many parents and professionals viewed growth as a kind of predetermined outcome that naturally evolved. To some extent, this is true. There exists a phenomenon of anything living that even under suppressed or dire circumstances, growth — of some variety — will still attempt to occur. But Purposeful Parenting is about how we can maximize our children’s growth and give them as much opportunity to be as successful as possible, to not only survive, but to thrive.
While there has never been any doubt that a parent’s intentionality with their children’s growth and development influences the child’s success, this influence has previously not been emphasized quite to the extent it is today.
When you think of child development, it likely brings to mind the earliest stages of life. Rightly so, for these are the foundations upon which all other planes of development are built. But parenting is a lifelong relationship. The principles of Purposeful Parenting can be applied to any stage of life between parent and child or even grandchild. The defining characteristic of Purposeful Parenting, no matter the stage, is that it is focused on creating conditions that meet the needs of the child for enhancing growth at an age appropriate rate.
For toddlers, that may mean providing plenty of opportunities for physical movement and exercise as they learn to