Monday, August 11, 2008

What makes a good parent?

I am always hearing about good parent vs. bad parent but what does that actually mean. Does that mean you are a good or bad person? I think that people who are not so good can still be good parents and good people can also be bad parents. It all comes down to parenting skills and if they care about their kids or not. There are horrible people out there who are great parents, their children love them and feel safe, but I would never want to work with them or for them. There are other people who seem to be great in public but years latter we find out that these upstanding members of society were torturing their children. I think that most people try to do the best they can for their children. I struggle everyday to overcome my childhood, and learn better parenting then what I was shown as a child.

I have learned that to be a good parent you:

1) Have to care about yourself and your children. If you don’t care about yourself or your children it is very difficult to be a good parent with positive influences.

2) Listen to your children, hear what they want and need not what you think they should have. Your children are individuals and should be treated as such, not an extension of yourself.

3) Play with your children so that you have some positive experiences with your children to build on. This gives you time to enjoy your children, not being a parent, boss or supervisor but a play partner. Have fun with your kids well you can, they grow up quick.

4) Keep your temper no matter what, even if it means you have to take a time out or leave the room. Giving your child a time out is a way to let yourself cool down. Let someone else deal with an issue if possible when it becomes too much. This is a lot easer to say then do. Kids tend to not listen, jump, run and break things all the time. Also they are trying to become independent people who can think and do things for themselves, even when you are helping them they still want to do it their own way. Big rule here, no hitting.

5) Take care of the basic necessities like clothing, food, shelter, love first and if possible give the extras after everything else is taken care of. Showing that you love your child by spending money on something they want is great, but not if you don’t have enough money for food because you spent it on a treat. Not giving a child what they want does not mean you don’t love them or are not a good parent.

6) Follow through. If you tell your children you are going to do something or give them something then you need to follow through other wise your word means nothing. This is for both positive and negative. If you say you are going to take away their TV for a week then you need to do that. Same as if you tell them they can help with dinner, or pick dinner then you need to do that as well, even if you have had a busy day.

7) Show your children that you love them. Telling them “I love you” does not mean much if your actions show otherwise. Give them hugs, put their artwork on the wall or fridge, tell them how great they are, and spend time with them. Let them know you like being with them and having them as your children. Actions speak louder then words every time.

8) Remember that you chouse to be with your kids, not that you have to spend time with them. It is a difference of perception, if you chouse to do something you are more likely to enjoy doing it then if you think you have to do something.

9) You don’t always have to like your kids, just love them even when you are not happy with them.

10) If you do something wrong admit it, say sorry and work on not doing it again.

I am sure my list will grow as I grow as a parent. The problem I have is remembering this stuff as my kids run around the house screaming, fighting and not listening. It is a hard stressful job being a parent. If it was not my own kids you could not pay enough to do this job. Most of us would not pass the requirements if you had to pass a parenting test before we became parents, but somehow we do get through it and so do our kids.

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