Regardless of the biology of the child, being a parent means much more than just sharing someone’s DNA.
Becoming a parent is one of the greatest gifts life can give you. It can also be one of the most challenging parts of life.
As a parent myself, I can’t tell you how many times each day I ask myself if I am being a good parent. Did I show my child enough affection? Was I too hard on him today? Did I make enough time to do the things he wanted to do?
There are also times when I question whether my parenting techniques are benefiting him or if they are somehow shaping him into something else entirely than I intended. Will he have a good heart? Can he be kind to others? What will his friends think of him?
Then there comes the questions of whether I am doing enough to support his developmental and educational milestones. Did I go over the ABCs enough today? How did I implement counting practice opportunities?
The list of questions goes on and on. However, I find myself going to bed each night typically satisfied with knowing I did my best. Sometimes, that’s all you can ask of yourself. And that’s what makes a good parent!
What Does It Mean to Be a Good Parent?
In a perfect world, all parents would be perfect parents, right? You would never get upset with your children, never lose your patience, and would always have an answer for them when they came to you with a problem.
However, that is not realistic! And that does not describe what it means to be a good parent. A good parent knows his or her strengths and weaknesses. Good parents take time to learn their parenting techniques and understand the needs of their children.
Additionally, a good parent knows when to ask for help. Holding the world on your shoulders alone and continually trudging on will take a toll on you. Therefore, lean on your spouse or partner for support. If you cannot lean on anyone close to you, seek professional help to assist you with your parenting struggles.
Can Your Own Childhood Determine How You Will Parent?
If you have a specific experience with parenting, typically, you will gravitate to what you know based on your experiences. That being said, this doesn’t mean you can’t change the way you parent your own children.
There will be many times when you reference how your parents raised you when you are trying to determine the best way to raise your own children. Keep in mind that what worked for your parents might not work for you as a parent.
Additionally, techniques that worked for you as a child might not work for your children. Each parent and each child are unique. In order to be a good parent, it is important to recognize these differences.
How Do I Become a Good Parent?
There are endless ways you can be a good parent to your children. In each stage of your child’s development, you will need to adjust your parenting techniques to best fit your child’s current growth.
They say parenting doesn’t stop once your child turns 18 years old. Parenting is a lifelong commitment and relationship that you will always work hard to nurture. Are you ready for the greatest journey of all?
This list on how to become a good parent will help you check in with yourself and give you some things to think about during your parenting journey.
1. Love Your Child
Without any question, unconditional love is the best way you can be a good parent. The love you show your children each day no matter how your day went will shine through them. This will build an everlasting bond with your children and will let them grow up confident in who they are.
There is no lesson on how you can love someone unconditionally. There is only one way to do it, and that is by showing it and telling your children everyday. Whether that is through endless snuggles or giggles, you can never love your child too much.
The love you show your children will be one of those feelings your child never forgets about you. As your children grow up and find their way in the world, they will remember the unconditional love you have for them as shown throughout their childhood.
2. Show Compassion
Small children have big feelings. And big children have even bigger feelings. It can be challenging to keep up with all the emotions! However, it is important to be compassionate through the growing pains of your children’s lives.
Taking time to talk to your child about her feelings and letting her know you are listening to her can make all the difference in the world. Instead of getting upset in the moment when your child acts out, compassion can make the outcome of that event a positive one.
Allow your child to feel heard and validate her feelings. Your compassion will leave a lasting impression.
3. Be There for Them, Always
Being a parent is nothing short of being hard. There are many challenges you will face, and you will often wonder how you will get through them. But you will make it!
Being there for your children no matter what situation they are in will probably be one of the toughest challenges you will face. However, this will also test your relationship and make your bond even stronger if you can band together to come up with a positive solution.
Children will test boundaries. There is no way around that. How you respond to their limit-testing will not be forgotten. As difficult as it may be during a time of hardship, be there for your child, always, and show him that no matter what, he can count on you.
4. Teach Them How to Be a Good Person
When you show your children what it means to be a good person, they follow in the footsteps before them. Children are impressionable! Therefore, lead them by example. How do you give back to your community? How are you present for others in their time of need? What humbles you in a time of crisis?
When children see the goodness in their parents and the positivity you exert in your everyday life, that is leadership they will follow. Show them how they can become a positive member of their family and to society.
5. Support Their Interests
Many parents desire to have their children become interested in the things they are interested in or were interested in as a child. Things like sports, music, collection items, and so on. In our minds, we want to bond over a commonality with our children. This is how you develop friendships with other like-minded individuals, right? However, you do not have the freedom to choose what your children’s interests will be.
Supporting your children in all areas is a great way to bond with them. Even if you don’t have an interest in what interests your child, show her you care about things she cares about.
Relate with your children or have them teach you about their interests. If you can understand why they like something so much, this will help you to appreciate their interests more.
Reminisce on how you felt when someone showed an interest in things that were important to you.
6. Positivity Goes a Long Way
You can lose your temper sometimes as a parent. A bad day at work can really influence your reactions to your children. A negative experience during the week can hinder your ability to see the good happening during the day. Sometimes, you can be easily influenced by your own emotions even if you choose not to see it.
This doesn’t make you a bad parent; everyone is human. However, consider how you can handle situations in a more positive manner.
When your children make decisions or react in less than ideal ways, it is easy for you to react in a similar manner. Negative reactions are normal. They can come very naturally as well when you are having a bad day.
Before you react, consider how you can respond in a positive manner to your child.
If your child is smaller, get down to her level and talk with her about her feelings. If she is older, sit with her and try to understand her side.
Communication is key in any relationship. Positive communication with your children will leave a lasting impression.
7. Accept Faults
Parents are not perfect by any means. You have bad days as well. You have human reactions and responses that you would like to take back at times. And you can’t do everything despite the high standards you hold yourself to.
When you fall short of your own expectations as a parent, it is okay to admit fault. You can apologize to your children and let them know how you responded was not ideal. Additionally, you can apologize to yourself for not showing your children the example you wish for them to follow.
Each day is a new day; you learn something new about yourself and about your children every day. Being a parent is a constant learning experience, and you need to adjust to make sure you are keeping up with your family’s needs.
What If My Spouse/Partner and I Have Different Parenting Styles?
Having different parenting styles is not necessarily a bad thing. This makes parenting more fun when you have someone else to do it with.
Children will often see the differences in their parents’ parenting styles before parents do. There will be the parent that is more strict than the other and a parent that is more fun than the other. This isn’t a reflection on you as a good or bad parent; these are just ways in which you differ.
The most important part about differing parenting styles is that you are on the same page when it comes to making decisions about your children. If one parent says “No” to something your child wants to do, the other parent needs to understand this decision was made and stick together. Parenting becomes more challenging when you are fighting against your spouse or partner’s decisions.
Good parenting begins with communication amongst parents and children. Keep communication open and—when in doubt—sit down to talk about a decision together before making the final decision.
Each child is different, and it is important that you notice those differences. What works for one of your children might not work or be enough for your other child. Tailor your parenting to the needs of your children, and you will always fit the bill of being a good parent!
Becoming a good parent means you are ready to accept that you don’t know everything, but you are willing to learn. You are also willing to admit when you fail and take those moments as learning opportunities for you and your children.
Parents want what is best for their children, and that means you have to rise to the occasion to become a good parent to your children as well.
How Are You a Good Parent?
When you have your own moments of self-reflection, consider asking yourself some questions to keep you on track to being a good parent. How do you show your children what it means to be a good parent? What are some ideas you could share with other parents to help them in their parenting? Was there a time when you responded in a less than ideal way? What did you learn from that experience?
Parenting is not a competition. If anything, being a parent is like becoming a special member of a secret club where you can all share your experiences and help one another through the tough times. Lift one another up and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Samantha Flores is the mom journaling the comical chaos of motherhood on Her Journal. She is a first-time parent to an incredible little boy. Her little family (three humans + three furbabies) lives in Northern California. Life is very busy! Samantha holds her Master of Arts degree in Education. In addition, she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology. She has many years of experience working in early childhood education as well as being a regulator of foster placement facilities such as foster homes, shelters, residential centers, group homes, and foster-to-adopt homes. Samantha’s mission is to provide helpful information to parents looking for answers to their parenting questions.