We touched upon the Monitor/Control step of the project processes in the first article in this series, but we want to delve more deeply into this step as a way of maintaining the precious work that we have already accomplished through the initiate, plan, and execute steps.
As a parent, you have been loyal to the short term goals that were necessary for your child, such as getting her through school, having her attain a sense of independence and reliability and trusting her to make some relatively complicated decisions (at least for her age group).
Now comes the real test of maintaining those goals through the time that the child is still under your care. One area that you want to monitor and control is her sense of ethics and fair play. You have undoubtedly argued with your child about such things as bedtime and getting homework completed. Now is the time to ensure that your child continues those traits even though she has some newfound independence with major life steps such as driving a car.
While your child is driving with friends or away from the house, you have no way of really surveilling what she is doing. Your child is now responsible for herself to some extent. It is all about the internal lessons of life that she will depend upon for the remainder of her life.
Your monitoring is not about the external monitoring, but the internal lessons that you have imparted. Regardless, they are all a part of the monitoring and controlling. In addition, your child will start to look for mentors that reflect what she knows and how she thinks, which was all a part of what you taught through actions and words.
Your example is something that will help monitor the behavior of your child. As a way of brief example, I was once shopping with my daughter and she wanted clementines (oranges). When it came time for checkout, we said the price was on the box, but it turned out that price was incorrect. I took the receipt back, showed it to the manager and explained that we paid too little for the oranges. The manager said thanks, corrected the price and then gave me $10 of coupons for the store, much more than the difference I just paid. My daughter was speechless, to which I said that whether the reward came or not, I just felt good about correcting our error. She still talks about that lesson.
In summary, it is more than monitoring and controlling your child’s behavior, it is about setting the example (and therefore monitoring and controlling your behavior). That will forever help manage the project, which is your child.
We finally come to the most difficult part of any project – the closing of the project. In this case, you are talking about your child and therefore will never completely close that project. My mother once said that she would consider her job finished as a mother two weeks after being put in the grave. The same is true for any parent.
If we cannot close the project as child, what does this mean? It means that we are forever closing projects as part of being a parent. Some of these include, but are not limited to, bedtime, eating right, finishing homework, finishing college applications, finishing college, getting a job, starting a career, getting married, helping them set a bedtime for their children, etc.
We NEVER close the project that is our children, but we do close projects that are part of their lives, and therefore part of our lives. When they say or do something that reflects what we have stated or done (in a good way), parents can sit back and close out that portion of the project.
The project process is not only useful, but also almost necessary when it pertains to parenting. Without a structure, helpfulness can be more confusing than useful. It is our job as parents to continue to affect our children through the processes that we feel are the most useful, but also to ensure that we apply those processes to our behavior as well. After all, they learn the most from watching you.
This post is part of the series: Parenting Using Project Management Principles
The five basic phases of project management are conception and initiation, definition and planning, launch or execution, performance and control and project close. Learn how these principles can apply to successful parenting.