Characteristics of a good parent

by Bob Walsh

If you look at the number of books in the parenting section of a book store, you might think that parenting ranks right next to rocket science in complexity. But parenting  isn’t really that difficult, because all of us have a lifetime experience with it (even though from the other side, being a child), all of us are neurologically hardwired to be parents by hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, and in the end, children usually manage to turn out just fine despite the many mistakes parents make. But in this article we are going to look at what the characteristics of a good parent are.

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The first thing I would like to say is: you don’t have to be perfect. It’s ok to not always do the “right” thing.

Yet, many parents feel overwhelmed by the demands that raising a child put on them. At times it might seem like you don’t have enough time, enough strength or simply aren’t good enough.

Good parenting is about many things, but most of all it’s about providing your child with the love and care it needs.

Good parenting is about trust as well. Trust in your child, demonstrating your child that he can trust you, and you trusting yourself in your abilities as a parent.

It also means that you take the time to play with your kid.

It’s important to instill discipline in children – but it’s also important not to get upset when a child does something wrong or makes some mistake. You see, when you get upset, your emotions get out of control and you allow your kid to push your buttons. Many people think that by becoming angry they demonstrate power – when in fact, they only demonstrate to their child how much power he has over you.

One of the characteristics of a good parent is to remain calm and confident.

If you remain calm, while at the same time teaching your child that this behavior wasn’t acceptable and how to act instead, then this will make your job as a parent a lot easier, and will be a good service to your child as well, as it will make it easier for your child to learn and understand. If your kid sees you upset and angry, it will be frightened and anxious, and it’ll be a lot more difficult to take in the information you actually intend to convey.

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What makes a good parent is that you give your child attention and spend time with them. Because that’s what they desire the most from you. They love you and there’s nothing in the world which is a pleasant to them as interacting with the people they love the most: their parents.

If your son paints a picture, take the time to look at it, admire it, praise the child for having drawn so beautifully, smile.

If your daughter sings a song, applaud and cheer her, tell her how proud you are of her, smile at her, give her a hug.

It’s not exactly rocket science, you see.

Sure, there are a thousand things on every parents mind:

about what the right foods for your baby are, and when and how to feed them. About how to talk with them, which words to use. About trying to make sense of things that simply don’t seem to make any sense. About the clothing, about the pediatrician you see, about… well, there’s an endless supply of things you could worry about as a parents, and my guess is, I don’t need to give you any additional ideas :-)

As a good parent, your job is not to have create athletic, academically high performing violin virtuoso with high emotional intelligence and programming skills. Sure, it is important to provide your kids with opportunities for growth and development in different areas of his life. But don’t try to create a full schedule for him where you squeeze in a thousand activities.

Give your child the time to be who he is, rather than become who you want him to be. It’s true, a kid might not know what he will be when he grows up, and a kid doesn’t understand the realities of making a living in the adult world – but it doesn’t need that.

Your job as a parent is to provide your child with all the experiences which allow him to discover these things himself, not follow in the path which you have laid out for him.

Among the characteristics of a good parent is not that you allow your kid to do everything it wants and buy him every little toy he wants. Setting boundaries is important, show your kid that you’re in charge. Your child wants to know that you’re the leader and that he is safe following you – these boundaries might sometimes feel unfair to kids, but they also make them feel safe.

Take the parenting quiz now to find out whether you understand the principles of good parenting.

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