Are you a proactive or reactive parent?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Are you a proactive or reactive parent?
Wed, 10-02-2013 - 2:00pm

While I think it's ideal to try to be a proactive parent, I can see where it's hard to maintain all the time, especially if things are not going well with your ex: 

Proactive parenting is thoughtful parenting. It's based on making decisions strategically designed accomplishing your goals with minimal stress. You consider the consequences before you act, especially its effects on your children as well as yourself and their other parent.

Reactive behavior is defensive behavior. There's little thinking involved about the consequences of your actions. It's like shooting first and aiming second. It usually results in putting others on the defensive. They then react to you, creating a vicious cycle of mistrust, anger and resentfulness.

When faced with making decisions about holiday activities, summer vacation, attending the school concert or neighborhood soccer game, are you thinking first about how your child would like things to be? Are you seeing the world from their perspective for a while? Are you basing your decision on creating a win-win outcome for your "family" -- or trying to wield power over your ex to keep them out of the equation? It's often easy to justify being rude or uncooperative, too tired or too busy to share the kids with their other parent. But are you remembering who is really being hurt by your behavior? 

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Everyone is human, and I could see where the reactive parenting could rear it's head from time to time.  Do you think it's possible to always be a proactive parent?  

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 10-03-2013 - 3:54pm

Luckily my ex & I generally have gotten along as co-parents.  We've never had experiences where we couldn't go to the same school event (even sit next to each other) or sporting event and we don't fight about visitation either.