What Makes a Good Parent

Every parent wants to be a good parent, and every parent feels like they are not very good parents. You see your children fighting, screaming, crying, and throwing temper tantrums in the middle of the store, and you feel like you are as a failure as a parent. Things like this happen to the best of parents and you should not feel like you are horrible because your child decided that they were going to lay down in the middle of the school and throw a tantrum with everybody watching, or because your neighbors called to ask who put the cat through the blender when all you did was brush your child’s hair, we’ve all been there.

Good parents still have children who act up, and good parents will lose their temper. A good parent knows this. You will never be a good parent if you are worried that at any moment, your child is going to erupt into a fight with you or their siblings. A good parent will, instead, be prepared for this. Finding a way to defuse the situation, even if it means leaving your cart in the store and coming back at a better time, or if you have to pull over to the side of the road because the screaming in the back seat has become to loud for you to concentrate, it’s all right. Get the situation under control, and deal out whatever punishment needs to be put into place, and move on, don’t dwell on it and don’t let it make you think you have failed as a parent.

Good parents listen to their children. In order to be a decent parent at all, you need to listen to your kids. If they come up and say that they are being bullied at school, find out by who. If they tell you that your boyfriend/ girlfriend or even their own parent is abusing them in any way, listen to them. Sometimes you might have to listen to what they aren’t telling you, too. A child who suddenly wants to go shopping with you when they hated it before, or one who suddenly doesn’t want to go to their friends house has something going on. If you bring up that you notice something is wrong, it might just get them to open up to you about something they didn’t feel like they couldn’t before, or that they just didn’t know how to mention. On the flipside, you need to make sure that you communicate clearly with your children. Set clear rules and consequences and make sure that you carry through with them. Also, make sure that you let your kids know that they can talk to you about anything. They might get in trouble, but it is better than if you have to find out on your own.

Find some time for yourself. Good parents do not parent 24/7, if they did, they would slowly become bad parents. Having children constantly pulling on you, asking for your attention, and that have to be picked up after on a regular basis, can really get to someone. If you do not take care of yourself, you will not be able to take care of anybody else. You might find that you only have fifteen minutes to take a shower, or half an hour to exercise, but find it and use it. This might be after the kids are in bed or while they are at school, when it happens doesn’t matter, but you do need some time to work out your thoughts and have some peace and quiet.

You have to let your kids grow up. A parent that does everything for their child is not a good parent. You need to allow your child to begin to do things on their own. I allow my six-year-old to pick out her clothes. There are days when they have to be “mommy approved” and I will let her know if they clash, but the rest is up to her. I am allowed to give my input, but she gets the final say. My five-year old gets to choose from a couple of outfits, and she has to put it on herself. While I know that they are likely to make mistakes, I know that they will learn from them and they will be more prepared to take care of themselves as they get older.

While no parent is perfect, each parent can be good. Just remember that you will not be able to control everything about your kids. Don’t feel bad when your daughter screams at the top of her lungs because you caught a snarl brushing her hair, or when your son screams all the way through the store because you wouldn’t buy him the new Transformers toy. Listen to your child when they need to talk to you and set clear guidelines as to what is expected of them. Let your children grow up, they will begin to fight with you if you try to keep them little forever. Most importantly, find time for yourself, you will be surprised at how much more patience you have when you spend fifteen minutes thinking in the shower instead of spending that time yelling at your kids.