• Ann Kaplan

The Magic of a Parenting Plan

Updated: Oct 6

As a mother of teens and tweens, the last few years have been full of parenting surprises:


Surprise! There's a condom wrapper on the floor!

Surprise! Your kid is failing all his classes!

Surprise! There's a vape pen in the laundry!

Surprise! Your kid hates your guts now!


Parents don't usually do well with surprises. There are lots of ideas floating around in our brains about being a good parent, what a good kid is, and scary things threatening our family.




When life is predictable and full of the everyday work of parenting, those ideas settle down and stay out of the way.


But surprises like these stir up all that stuff, swirling it around in our heads until we are in a cloud of panic and confusion. What direction do we go? Which way is right? What will work to make things better?!


Pretty soon we are doing boneheaded things like:

  • Forbidding our children to have sex (good luck with that)

  • Micromanaging our kid's schoolwork (actually encourages them to slack)

  • Giving long D.A.R.E lectures about the dangers of drug use (totally pointless)

  • Guilt-tripping our kids to get them to treat us better (guaranteed to backfire)


A surprised parent is ruled by one, and only one thought: "I don't know what to do," and that leads to a losing battle ending in a scramble to regain control, emotional and angry words, and knee-jerk discipline that makes matters worse.


But what if you DID know what to do?


The way to know what to do when kids surprise us is to plan for surprises. I don't mean this metaphorically; I'm talking about a concrete parenting plan that addresses exactly what's going on with our kids and what our family needs, and has specifics steps to follow when things go sideways.


Because I have a plan, I can be blind-sided by my child's latest surprise and say, "What do you want to share about this? We'll figure this out," instead of launching into a 2-hour tearful monologue about trust, respect, and responsibility that will only dig him deeper into his self-destructive behavior. I can stay calm and don't have to undermine my REAL goal of shepherding my son into healthy adulthood just to handle the latest monkey wrench he has thrown into the mix.


What's in my plan?

  • Connection with my child. I see him. I know him. I respect him. I love him.

  • Self Acceptance. I am enough and exactly who I'm meant to be for myself and my child.

  • Space. I don't need to have immediate answers. We have time to think and stay calm.

  • Help. I have a coach who I can turn to and say, "I'm lost. Help me." No one is supposed to figure this out alone.


My job is to create this exact scenario for each of my clients, and it's an honor to be the help in their plans.


What's your plan? Do you have one? When parenting surprises leave you reeling, it's because you either don't have a plan, or your plan is lacking in some way. It's time to get help and be ready for the next surprise parenting has in store for you. This starts with a free discovery call where we talk about what's happening in your family, what you want to create, and how to get there. Let's go, mama!

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© 2018 by Ann Kaplan