Parenting is like a roller-coaster ride. You have the happy moments, the anxious moments, the memorable times and the times you just want to forget.
Whatever might be the experience, our responsibilities as a good parent do not change. No parent is perfect in carrying out the responsibilities, but all of us strive to be good.
So, how can we be good parents? MomJunction tells you about the qualities of a good parent and shares some tips on how to become one.
Qualities Of A Good Parent
Besides being loving, caring, and patient, a parent has to be sensitive, empathetic, and vigilant. Here are the qualities of a good parent:
- Love: No matter what our children do, we still love them. But a good parent loves them responsibly, correcting when they are wrong and helping them realize their mistake. They do not pamper them with blind love.
- Empathy: Good parents think from their child’s perspective. They place themselves in their child’s shoes and then respond. It means that they do not put undue pressure on the children to perform or make fun of them when they fail.
[ Read: Signs of Bad Parenting ]
- Consistency: The parents have consistency in their daily routines and in enforcing rules and consequences. Consistent routine makes children feel secure because they know what’s in store for them. It helps in developing good habits.
- Communication: Good parents communicate with their child effectively so that the child understands the thought process. It also improves the child’s communication as they learn from their parents.
- Active listening: Good parents actively listen to what their child has to say. They pay attention, acknowledge their ideas, and help them share their experiences.
- Understanding: When the parents listen to what the child is saying, they understand their worries, fears, and thoughts. And because the parents understand them, the child begins to trust and rely on their parent.
- Responsive: The parents are sensitive and responsive to their child’s needs and requirements.
- Patience: It’s tough to have this virtue when the children test it every day. But good parents have the patience to think and understand the reason behind the child’s behavior. They take steps to address the problem.
- Respect: Children may be small and may not “know” a lot yet, but it’s important to respect them. Respecting your child does not mean catering to their every whim, but rather acknowledging that because your child is a person, they have needs too. They have needs for personal space (treating their bodies with respect), the need to know what is expected of them regarding their time (offering fair warning prior to transitions), the need to be able to control what goes into their body (respecting when they say they are “full” or “not hungry”), etc.
Good doesn’t mean perfect. A good parent doesn’t strive to be perfect but aims to be a real one. Next, we’ll tell you how you can do that.
How To Be A Good Parent?
Here’s what you can do to be a good parent. If you are already doing it, then that’s great!
1. Love unconditionally:
Loving their children comes naturally and instinctively for parents. But you can express it by:
- Hugging and kissing your kids.
- Encouraging them when they are doing something good.
- Assuring them that you will love them always.
[ Read: Parenting Problems And Solutions ]
2. Appreciate generously:
When you appreciate your kids for their accomplishments, they are motivated to do it better. It also tells them that you are proud of their achievements.
- Praise your kids to make them feel proud of their achievements.
- Be clear in explaining why you are appreciating them. Example: I am proud you have put in great efforts in completing your holiday project.
3. Avoid comparisons:
Every child is different and has a unique potential. Recognize the talent in your children and motivate them to reach their goals. When you compare your child with others, it makes them feel inferior. Therefore,
- Don’t discourage your children by comparing them with others.
- Don’t show favoritism towards one child.
- Encourage children to take care of themselves instead of asking the older siblings to take care of the younger ones.
4. Listen to understand:
Communication is effective when it flows two ways. Only when you listen to your children, would you understand their problems and be able to help them.
- Make sure you talk to your child every day for a certain time, be it after school, bedtime, or during dinner.
- Avoid gadgets during the interaction time.
5. Set rules and consequences:
Rules help your children inculcate discipline and order in their lives.
- Your rules have to be reasonable and fair and not so stringent that the kids fear them.
- The rules and the consequences of breaking them need to be clear.
- The rules have to be applied consistently without any exceptions.
- Ensure that you and your spouse (and the others at home) are on the same page while enforcing the rules.
- Avoid punitive action when your child doesn’t follow the rules.
6. Share their special moments:
Whether it’s your child’s graduation ceremony, dance performance, or a play, be there and make them happy. It will boost their confidence and make the day more memorable.
[ Read: Parent-Child Relationship ]
7. Strive to be a role model:
Children learn more from what you do rather than what you say. If you want your children to be the way you want, you need to:
- Behave appropriately in front of your kids.
- Respect your child and others.
- Be cordial with your spouse so that your child understands intimacy, love, and togetherness.
- Care for the environment.
8. Reflect on your own childhood:
Certain times, we unconsciously take cues from our parents while parenting our kids. In some instances, we might want to do things differently and in some others, follow in the footsteps of our parents.
Reflect on the things you want to change, and act accordingly.
For instance, if your parents were strict with you, then you might want to be a little relaxed with your child while having rules in place.
9. Teach socializing:
It’s important to teach social skills to your child. You need to:
- Encourage your children to interact with their classmates (not when a class is going on, though).
- Tell them to maintain eye contact with everyone they talk.
- Make your child understand that not all people they meet are pleasant but they should learn to accept myriad behaviors.
10. Help the child to be independent:
Teach your child to make decisions instead of depending on you all the time. You need to help them differentiate good from bad and right from wrong.
- Unless you feel it’s necessary to intervene, let your child make their decisions, be it about their friends or hobbies.
- Don’t force them to fit into your pre-defined templates.
Your parenting approach changes at every phase of your child’s life as it requires you to use age-appropriate techniques and strategies. Let’s understand them in detail
Parenting Tips At Various Stages
Your baby is dependent on you for everything and you are still learning what to do. The following tips can help you improve your parenting skills:
- Don’t leave your baby crying. Respond to them immediately.
- Talk, read, and sing to them.
- Reciprocate to their sounds.
- Smile at them.
- Play with your baby when they are in a playful mood.
- Look out for the signs when they are tired, fussy, or hungry and attend to them.
- Take care of yourself, so that you can take care of your baby better.
This is the time when you can mold your child’s personality. So, it’s imperative to lay a strong, healthy, and positive foundation for the child to bloom into a strong adult. The following tips can help you in raising toddlers:
- Spend quality time: Be interactive with your toddler whether it’s playing games, telling stories, or just talking. Connect to them while you are interacting, to improve the emotional bond between you.
- Be assertive but friendly: Laying down rules is important to discipline children. The rules have to be reasonable so that your child can follow. Don’t punish if your child cannot follow the rules, instead explain their importance.
- Be empathetic: Before you react to your children’s bad behavior, look at the issue through their eyes. Reflect on what you would do if you were a toddler because, at that age, your child cannot explain their deeds.
- Encourage them to learn: Motivate your toddler to explore new things. Allow them to try their hand at eating, brushing, and bathing. Encourage good behavior.
- Create “no-free zones”: Try to find an area in your home where your child can explore freely and you don’t have to say “no” or “don’t touch that!” Having ‘safe spaces’ allows children to learn, and allows parents the ability to relax and enjoy watching their child learn, rather than having to focus on safety above engagement.
As toddlers enter the age of preschoolers, they are interested in the world around them. Their personality starts shaping, and they start having their perceptions. Here are some parenting tips for preschoolers:
- Encourage your child to socialize.
- Help them learn how to use words and develop their language skills.
- Be consistent in disciplining your child.
- Be clear about your expectations from your child.
- Let your child have meals with the family.
- Limit the screen time to one hour in a day.
- Provide age-appropriate toys and games.
Children become independent at this stage. Their physical, mental, and social skills start developing rapidly. Here are some tips for raising them:
- Help your child become responsible, and set goals for them.
- Teach your child to respect others, by being a role model.
- Define rules and consequences and apply them consistently.
- Involve in some fun games with your child.
- Encourage your child to take up sports and extracurricular activities.
[ Read: Ways To Enhance Parenting Skills ]
When children enter their teens, they experience changes physically and emotionally, which manifest into mood swings, behavioral problems, and confusion.
Make an effort to understand their feelings and expectations from you. The following tips can help you:
- Trust: Building trust is a slow process; you need to earn your teenager’s trust. Let your relationship be open, share important things about yourself and the family so that your teen trusts you and is likely to share their personal things.
- Respect: If you want your teen to respect you, then you respect them. Don’t dismiss or criticize their ideas as irrational or childish. You can disagree with them, but acknowledge and respect their ideas, opinions, and feelings. Don’t criticize them in front of their friends; this will lower their self-esteem.
- Reassure: Let your teen know that you are there for them when they need you. Teens, most likely, want to be independent, but assure them that you are ready to help if they need you.
- Rules: If you are strictly consistent in applying the rules, it sends a signal to your teen to stick to them.
- Be attentive: You must pay complete attention to what your teen does or thinks. It makes them feel secure, loved, and special. Once you do this, your child too will love and respect you.
- Criticize constructively: Being a good parent doesn’t mean that you have to be nice to them always. Whenever your teen makes a mistake, give constructive feedback and be kind while doing so.
- Don’t force them: Teenagers are likely to rebel when you push them to do something. The more you force them into something, the higher are the chances of them not listening to you.
- Let them explore: Allow your teens to pursue their dreams, follow their passion and experiment new things. Don’t impose your ideas on them, let them create and work on their ideas.
- Make them aware of the vices: Talk to your child about the adverse effects of smoking, drinking alcohol, doing drugs and having unprotected sex. Have an open talk with them and explain the consequences. Inform them about the possibility of health problems that they can contract.
[ Read: Tips To Become A Peaceful Parent ]
Parenting is not easy. It requires all your time and effort to be a good parent but anxiety is there at every stage of your child’s development. Trust them, love them, and do your duties as a parent. That will provide a safe and ideal family for your child to grow into a responsible person.