Whether we are soon to be parents, new parents or have been parents, we want to do the best job possible at raising our children. Children don’t come with instruction manuals and parenting doesn’t come with a manual or infallible guide. Every situation and family is unique. We as individuals are different. There are different parenting styles and variations. There is varied parenting education and knowledge which we utilize and process differently. We basically parent with instinct, knowledge and wisdom. At first, we usually parent with instinct and our personal experiences. This is usually what we learned (consciously and subconsciously) from our parents, family members or others. We also parent around our beliefs, morals and values. Many new parents and even seasoned parents undergo parenting training and education. This knowledge is a very valuable tool, as it teaches parents how to be effective parents and helps them cultivate their parenting skills. Parenting is a very extensive subject with a vast abundance of information and opinions. Even with proper parenting education, we need to be naturally adaptive, resourceful and I provisional. Good parenting will produce good individuals, who will continue a positive cycle when they are parents.
So what does it take to be a good parent? From what I have experienced and learned so far as a child, person and a parent, I created a list of things which I believe to be essential for being a good parent.
Be dedicated and passionate. Good parenting definitely takes dedication. Dedication and passion comes from the love for our children and drive to put their well being first. Being dedicated takes a lot of sacrifice. As parents, we need to sacrifice a lot of our time and personal lives.
When I am dedicated to my child’s life, I know that the sacrifices are priceless investments and for an extremely important cause. I have known many parents who could not sacrifice their pleasures for their purpose. Children tend to view that as selfishness or weakness. These characteristics are learned and absorbed. With this said, it’s important to be our best as individuals and to be good examples as parents.
Practice self discipline. We teach our children to be well behaved and disciplined. We teach them to be honest and trustworthy. We teach them many things to help them be healthy, happy and productive now, and into the future. We use discipline to ensure all of these things and more for our children. If we want our children to be well disciplined, we must be self disciplined. In addition, we should expect the same from ourselves, if not more.
We must remember that we can (and often do) lead more by our example than by what we say or instruct. We must practice what we are teaching. I know that when I am peaceful and positive, calm and strong, I am at my best. My children see this. I know that when I am frustrated and negative, out of control and careless, I am at my worst. My children see this. This is how I know self discipline is extremely important in parenting. It is best to control your emotions (especially anger) and learn how to deal with stress.
Discipline your children. Discipline does not only mean punish. Discipline means to teach. It is important to teach them to learn from natural consequences. They will also learn this naturally. I personally prefer to use the word consequence instead of punishment. I found it very important to set fair and logical consequences (punishments). This will keep the child focused on the lesson and make it less likely that they will be distracted or focused on their emotions, anger and resentment.
It is also important to set guidelines and expectations enforced by a rewards and consequences system. This can consist of simply rewards and incentives for good behavior, and consequences and corrective action for bad behavior. Make sure to be consistent in your parenting.
Be a good and positive example to your children. Children have many influences. We can be responsible and be an icon of positive influence to our children. It’s important to understand that it is not only what we say that influences. Our vocalization is not the only message we send. Relaying our intended messages can be difficult. Most of the time, people need to make personal changes when they become a parent. They find themselves changing how they react to things or express opinions and feelings.
Always use communication. Be an active listener. This will enable you to be more effective and productive at being a parent and solving problems. This is when children learn and also when parents learn. It’s very reciprocal. I found that my children teach me a lot about my parenting. It should be assertive and constructive communication. You shouldn’t use criticism, contempt, aggressiveness or defensiveness. Passive-aggressiveness is also very counterproductive. Communication should be used for conflict resolution and problem solving. During communication, everyone should express their feelings openly.
Show you children respect and teach them to respect others. Just you showing them respect will automatically teach them to have respect for others. I know that when children are shown disrespect, they can learn to not respect themselves. If they don’t have respect for themselves, it is likely that they will not have respect for others. I’m sure that we can all recall a situation where we were disrespected and lashed out at others because of it. It’s the same for children and they can form habits (good and bad) very easily and quickly.
Respect your children as individuals. They have their own minds and lives. The will have their own personalities, ideas, and feelings about the world. Always remind yourself that they are individuals, and they are their own person. They are not you and may have different thoughts and actions. Always respect their dignity. We must be very careful not to oppress our children. We should treat them how we would like or expect to be treated.
Instill happiness and self worth in your children. Show them positivity, not negativity. Be careful and thoughtful of your children’s feelings and needs. It’s terrible when parents inflict damage on their children’s psyches. It’s not fair to children. Oppression is wrong. Many children carry these emotional damages well into their adult lives and even spread it to their own children.
We need to make our children feel loved, wanted, needed and useful. This will give them a sense of importance and self worth. We equally need to encourage them and teach them to be confident and love themselves. We should always want to lift them up when they are down. We need to be an inspiration to our children.
Do not humiliate your children. We want our children to be proud of themselves. At time, children make mistakes or do things that are not good or shameful. We should still treat them with dignity as we teach them right from wrong. Humiliation and shame are painful emotions for children to deal with. Our main focus in our disciplinary tactics should not be to make them feel ashamed of themselves. This can permanently damage their confidence and self esteem. I like to use privacy and confidentiality when disciplining a shameful act.
Give your children praise. Compliment them. This will encourage them and let them know when they are doing the right thing. It is also important to receive praise well. This will show them how to react to praise. This is simple because we all like to make our children feel good. It makes us feel good. It’s wonderful when all family members are happy together.
Teach your children good values and morals. This goes along with teaching them right from wrong. Teach them the importance of honesty and fairness. These traits can stay with them for life.
Teach your children self control. It’s important that they can express their emotions, but there should be limits and a level of control. This is especially critical to children who act on their emotions. In essence, you are teaching them to control their actions. Teaching them self control will greatly benefit them throughout life. Teaching patience and control of anger are popular lessons for young children.
Teach your children to be kind, gentle and empathetic. Teach them to be understanding, patient, accepting and tolerant. Teach them about social awareness, social injustice, differences and diversity. Teach them about giving and taking (reciprocation) and the rule of action and reaction. Teach them that what they do as an impact on other people or things.
Instill a sense of purpose, duty and citizenship in your children. This will help them be, and feel like a good member of society. All their lives they will be around other people and have to properly function in a society. We like to see our children to grow up to be helpful and prolific people. It is good to teach children to get along with others and to work as a team at an early age. Recreational and community activities can be great ways to learn these values.
Teach your children responsibility and a good work ethic. Most parents do this by assigning chores to their children. It’s good to hold them accountable for their actions and to make them responsible for things in their life. As children grow, we should give them more responsibility and further their understanding of the importance of having a good work ethic. My children may groan about a certain responsibility they have, but when they complete it, they feel happy and proud. Chores and responsibilities will give them a sense of duty and usefulness.
Teach your children the importance of education and learning. Starting at an early age is ideal. Implement a study time for them, as well as times to read. I started reading to my children regularly when they were very young. It as proven to be very effective in helping them develop a love and an interest for reading and learning. I also set up reading and study times for myself, as this provides a good example. It is also pinnacle to monitor and be aware of what your children are learning and being taught. A quality education is essential and is something every child should have access to.
Teach your children about finances. This goes along with lessons about how the world works. Children are born into a world that has systems already in place. One of the most important and powerful systems is the economic system. Most civilizations were built on money and are controlled by money. I feel that it is very important to educate children about economics and finances. We want our children to know how to control their money and lives so they won’t be controlled by money or those with money and power. I have read many studies regarding children whose parents did not teach them these skills. The studies showed that those children had significantly higher odds of having financial difficulties as adults. When lecturing about basic survival skills, it is necessary to include modern day survival skills.
Teach your children to be skilled decision makers and problem solvers. I encourage my children to make decisions and solve problems on their own. I even use simulation to enhance their skills. If they are unable to solve a problem or need guidance, then I step in and help.
Teach your children to be independent and self sufficient individuals. Most children love to do things by themselves. They are full of zeal to learn and experience. We should always encourage them to do things on their own, as long as it’s safe and within their capability. We should also instruct them on how to do things on their own. As long as it’s reasonable and completely safe, I tell my children, “Think about it and figure it out” or “Try to do it yourself.” This challenges them and very rewarding when they acknowledge that they did it themselves. It also shows them that you trust them and have faith in them. Children and people alike need to feel that others believe in them. Encourage your children to be free thinkers, think for themselves and not just always believe and think how others think or tell them to think. Encourage them to question things, research for answers, investigate, seek the truth, stay true to themselves and to their beliefs and morals. Also encourage them to always defend and stand up for the truth as well as their beliefs. Individual autonomy is something that should be taught. They should also be encouraged and warned to think about things rationally, realistically, and carefully. This will help them make better choices and decisions in life.
Guide your children well. Give them good guidance to help them live and think in a positive and constructive way. Be careful not to misguide them or misinform them. I always encourage my children to research and investigate to figure things out for themselves. I also encourage them to ask a lot of questions and even question a lot of information. I encourage them to be autonomous (a free thinker).
We teach our children to walk, talk and think. We then teach them to restrict movement, words and thoughts. We need to be careful not to prevent or stop our children from developing their minds, curiosities, creativity and passions. Of course we should be reasonable, but we should let them explore and experiment to learn about the world around them. We should let them ask many questions. When we answer, we should answer well and let them form and cultivate their own thoughts and understanding. It’s unfair to deprive them of that.
Encourage your children’s interests, talents and skills. Encourage them to follow their hopes and dreams. Support them in their activities and ambitions. Support them throughout their development and phases, as they are finding their sense of self. Encourage them to set goals and strive to achieve them. Motivate them and help them keep their momentum. I find myself lecturing with what I learned from not doing something more than what I learned from trying something or achieving something.
Be a dependable and reliable parent. Be there for your children no matter what. Help them when they need it. Never abandon or forsake them. Be in their corner and at their defense. Our children will face a lot of adversity and learn disappointment and disgust from disloyalty and mistrust. It shouldn’t come from us too.
Show them stability, as this is greatly needed in their lives.
Spend time (quality and quantity) with your children. Play with them and have fun with them often. Fun parents make happy children. Create fun activities and traditions. We are parents, teachers and authority figures, but we can also be fun friends. Cherish the times that are spent together. This will create memories that will last in the hearts and minds of them and you for life.
Be attentive, vigilant and observant to your child’s life. If you see problems or potential problems early, they can be more easily corrected. Teach them those skills to use in their own life. Prevention is usually easier than resistance or correction.
Keep your children safe. Provide them a safe environment. Protect them at al costs. There are many dangers and threats, especially when they are young. Be observant and aware of your children’s surroundings. When my children were young, I was often referred to as worrisome. But I always believed in being passionate about my children’s survival and well being. Like the old saying goes, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
Teach your children about self preservation. Children develop natural survival instincts, but it is important to explain to them the physical dangers in the world. It’s also important to teach them about the limits and vulnerabilities of their bodies. I taught my children at a young age about their anatomy. I also taught them about unnecessary risks and dangers. Examples of unnecessary risks would be: Riding on motorcycles and all terrain vehicles, and other dangerous/risky activities for thrill only.
When children get older, then it’s important to teach self preservation in many forms from keeping themselves alive and healthy to maintaining all aspects of their lives.
Take your children’s health seriously. Keep a healthy environment for them. Be an advocate for health. Be weary about what your children eat and drink. Healthy habits are learned as children.
Be extra attentive to your children’s physical and mental health. I have had many experiences with physicians and health care professionals either overlooking or misdiagnosing health problems or disorders. We often need to be proactive and research and examine things ourselves.
If a health problem is discovered, have it treated with the best course of action. Take it seriously and work diligently to solve and correct the problem. Be thorough and comprehensive. Seek the best health care possible and never procrastinate. With serious health problems, time is of the essence.
Teach your children to love and enjoy life. Teach them to be happy and positive throughout various circumstances. Help them learn to be resilient and persevere through difficult situations. Help them learn how precious life is. Help them learn that it is best to make the most out of life and to enjoy life to the fullest. Teach them to be grateful and appreciative. Help them to possess peace of mind and know how to find and keep happiness and comfort in their own mind.
Learn from your experiences and the mistakes you make as a parent. Also, learn from the mistakes of others. You can learn the right way to do something from someone who did it wrong. Learning from other people’s experiences and examples can be a great teacher and help you cultivate your parenting skills and ideas. Your children can also be great teachers. Listen to their words and think about their reactions. Be observant and receptive. I once wrote a questionnaire for my children to answer. It pertained to my parenting and how I was doing as a parent in their minds. Some answers were funny and unrealistic. Other answers were very interesting and gave me some good insight. Over all, it was very informative and beneficial.
If we are making parenting mistakes, we can make changes now. When we realize a mistake, we should change that way of parenting immediately. We must be assertive while making sure not to make the same mistakes again. We need to take the most important job of parenting seriously, while having a lot of fun at the same time.
Love your children unconditionally. Love them regardless of the mistakes they make or who they become. This comes naturally, but children really need to know it. The first sentence in this paragraph could then be; show your children unconditional love.