Quarantine Parenting Part 3: Goals

What is your goal for parenting during this quarantine? Is it to just “survive” the process? Or perhaps might it be to “make sure I don’t screw them up too bad?” I often joke with friends that I don’t have a college savings fund for my kids, I have a therapy savings fund. My kids will probably need twice the therapy to work through their dad being a therapist. This next generation might need twice the therapy because of being stuck at home with their parents for months on end. Bless them! 

Regardless if we’re talking about parenting during the quarantine or not, parenting is a two-fold challenge. First and foremost, we have to learn how to raise the kid inside ourselves. We have to be kind, respectful, loving and at the same time tough, hold boundaries, and be willing to say no to that part of us that wants instant gratification. We cannot be helpful parents until we have first admitted that we’re not that much further along than our kids are. 

The second challenge is to raise our kids as unique individuals with similar and different challenges in life than what we ourselves face. Parenting our kids as though they wrestle with the exact struggles as we do is narrow minded and not helpful guardianship. I wrote about this last week in regards to parenting our kids uniquely, not as a group. Setting specific goals for our kids is a great way to drive that point home.

Similar to the SWOT+ exercise, setting of goals will also include an acronym: Parenting goals need to be REAL. Relational, Empathic, Attainable, and Loving.  

We need to set goals for our kids that are relational, not transactional. A goal for our kids to “keep them from bothering us so we can work” is not a relational goal, that would be a transaction. A relational goal means that both parent and child maintain connection in the process. 

Put yourself in your child’s shoes. As you think about goals for them, walk around in their life for a bit. What’s it like for them to live in your house (which was not their choosing!)? What’s something that they see from their unique perspective that would be helpful for you to see as their parent? Set goals for them that consider the difficulties they are facing either in efforts at school, with their siblings, with their parents, or unique challenges. . 

Set goals for your kids that they, and you, can attain. Start small, get some small wins that will snowball into something bigger. Unattainable goals are discouraging and demotivating. Enlist your child in helping to make sure the goal is attainable. Getting them to buy-in to this process will go a long way in their participation. 

Above all, make sure that your goals are out of love. One of the best ways that we can show love to our children is by showing interest in their life. What do they watch? Who are their best friends? What worries them? What excites them? The great author C.S. Lewis said it really well, “love is not an affectionate feeling for someone, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.” We don’t have to like our kids to love them.


There are two parts to setting goals during this time. The first is goals for you as a parent. Try to set some specific goals for yourself in relation to each kid. The second is to set some goals for and with your kids. Engage them in the process. Structure, which I will talk about as boundaries more in the final assignment, provides clarity and safety for both parents and kids. 

Take some time to reflect on the two previous assignments of your parenting style, and the SWOT+ and then answer the questions below. 

  • What have I learned about myself as a son/daughter of my parents? As a parent? 
  • What have I learned about my kids (name them individually)?
  • Taking into account (child’s name)’s unique strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunities/threats from me as a parent, what is one goal I want to accomplish as a parent?
  • What is one goal I want to help my kid accomplish? 


Day 2: Family Roles

This post is a part of The 15-Day Relationship Challenge. If you’re just now tuning in, click here for the whole series.

What’s My Role?

Good Morning. Welcome back. 

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Home is where life makes up it’s mind?” Some of us grew up in chaotic homes, while others of us great up in quiet avoidant homes. Regardless of the temperament of the home, we all carry a massive set of assumptions about life that was formed in our childhood homes. 

One of the primary ways our childhoods impact our relationships today is the role we played at home. We all played a role in our family, and we all fill a role (usually a similar one) in our marriages. When I think of the word “role” I immediately associate it with the word “hole.” Our roles come from the holes in our family.

No family is perfect, and these imperfections create holes in family dynamics. Kids come along and desperately want the attention and affection of mom and dad and they want out of the insanity that is a family. They begin to unknowingly try and fill these holes to cope with the craziness. It’s a wonder any of us are even partially functional in life! 

Here is a list of the most common roles that kids play in order to fill the holes at home: 

The do-gooder. Rule follower. High achiever. The chosen one. Straight-A student. They come home on time, rarely offer resistance to expectations placed on them, and have an incredibly high standard of what success looks like. They feel like love is earned and have an inflated sense of importance. “If I don’t do it, no one will. It’s up to me.” They make the family look good. Their pain is masked through performance and perfection. 

The family comedian or storyteller. They are the practical joker, funny guy, and clown. Mascots cut through the tension of the home by making everyone laugh. They stay emotionally distant from difficulties, but know exactly what to say or do to alleviate the seriousness of a fight or stress in the home. Everything is ok for us if we are laughing. They mask the pain through laughter. 

All families are messy, and they need someone to take the blame for why they’re a mess. The scapegoat is easily blamed for the problems at home. Their “acting out” (drugs, alcohol, sex, etc) is a way to cope with the family pain. They get compared to the hero a lot. Scapegoats fill the role of being the container for everyone else to emotionally “throw up” on. Scapegoats are generally the most honest in the family. They tell the truth through actions about how crazy the family is. They mask the pain through acting out. 

Lost Child
The family is so focused on laughing with the mascot, blaming the scapegoat, and celebrating the hero that someone is going to be lost. Lost kids get missed in the drama of everything else happening. Sometimes this looks like being a chameleon (I’ll be whoever you need me to be). They stay just on the outside enough to go unnoticed, away from the drama/mess of the family. They tend to be withholding, silent, and afraid to get close to people. They mask the pain by hiding, being unnoticed.

Some of us filled multiple roles in our family home, and sometimes our parents played some of the roles. The roles we played in our family as kids shape the way we are in our close intimate relationships as adults. Knowing what roles we played is tremendously helpful for how we are as adults. It gives us insight and understanding in how we deal with conflict, failure, risks, and intimacy.

Reflection Questions:

  • What did I notice about me in reading today’s material? 
  • What feelings, thoughts, questions, or stories that came to mind? 
  • What role(s) most closely describe me in my childhood?
  • What stories do I remember that illustrate this? 
  • What did I learn about my family in reading through these roles?
  • How might the role I play be impacting my relationships today?

Think of a story that best illustrates the role you played in your home growing up.


Take 10-15 minutes tonight with your spouse to talk through your day. 

  • What were the highs and lows?
  • Where were you surprised? 
  • Was there anything different about your day because of the assignment(s)? 

From this mornings reading, what stood out to you? If you’re willing, share your answers from the reflection questions.

Assignment Connection
Tell the story you thought of that best illustrates the role(s) you played in your childhood home.