05 May, 2010

Parenting Values

I’ve just added a comment to an interesting discussion about values on the Coaching at Work LinkedIn group and thought it worth keeping it here too.

A significant area of my work is corporate maternity coaching: coaching women (sometimes men), 1:1 or in groups through the transition to motherhood / parenthood at work. An area in which values really surface and are key to resolving so-called ‘work-life balance’ issues. Clarifying values can be an important part of coming to terms with one’s own choices and way forward.

Following - with a light touch - Stephen Covey’s approach to picturing ourselves taking in the impressions at our own funeral, I sometimes encourage these new parents to look forward to the moment when their new child leaves home / has 18th birthday etc. How would they hope that person looks back on their childhood? Gives some perspective on parenting values.

It also gives perspective too to those who say that checking our values are being met in a situation shows a kind of selfish demandingness.  Rarely do parents’ values about their own children focus solely on how those children meet the parents’ own needs, and similarly when we check a situation (job role working hours etc, childcare provisions) for whether they are meeting our values, it’s not an expression of ‘me, me, me’, as criticism of the individualistic career woman sometimes supposes. For parents it’s most often about our own struggles to meet deeply generous expectations / values we hold in relation to supporting others.