Earlier this year NJCASA offered the Bringing It Home blog series focused on creating safer and more respectful communities for children and teens.  The series offered suggestions and resources for parents to learn more about child sexual abuse, have open communication with children, and support thoughtful organizational policies for child safety.  To continue the conversations started in those posts, we’re kicking off the summer with Purposeful Parenting Month!

Purposeful Parenting Month is a chance for parents* to think about open communication with their kids and support mutual respect.  Looking for some more ideas to celebrate?  Here are some activities or intentions for each week:

Week One: Try some arts and crafts!

Want to know what’s going on in your kid’s mind?  Looking for visual inspiration?  Grab some paper, markers, stickers, and your favorite glue stick to create a “A place where I feel safe and respected” collage.  This is a great opportunity to talk about what makes your child or teen feel safe, valued, and respected.  It can be a real or imaginary place.  Don’t forget to create one for yourself.

Week Two: Practice listening as a family.

With everything going on – work, summer activities, family events, and graduations – we can sometimes “tune out.”  Try to set aside 15 minutes this week to sit down with your child or teen and just listen.  Try to refrain from saying anything or interjecting.  Affirm and acknowledge their feelings with body language and eye contact.

Week Three: Reach out to others.

Is there something you’ve always wanted to know more about?  This week is your chance to ask questions and learn more.  Contact your local sexual violence program about their education programs.  Learn about childhood sexual development.  Take a trip to the library and browse the shelves.

Week Four: Take care of yourself. 

Being a parent is equal parts challenging and rewarding.  Each day brings its own set of fears, successes, and memories.  Remember to forgive yourself for any harsh words or thoughts and take a few months to be present for those victories.  This week set aside 10 minutes to write down a few things that made you happy this week.  Try to select something from each day of the week…maybe even the month!

Feel free to switch these around – start with what’s comfortable for you and gradually stretch from there.  Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to share your favorite activity.

*We use “parents” throughout this and future posts to describe caring adults who serve as a child’s primary caregiver. The relationship can be biological, legal, social, or emotional. NJCASA recognizes and celebrates the many ways people define “family” and their role within a family.