Parents on television make it look so simple. They have a snappy comeback for every childhood question or comment. There are no problems television parents can’t solve. But in the real world, there is no script to follow. Parents have to muddle through from day to day on wits alone. Understanding what makes a good parent gives every mom and dad a goal.
The Centers for Disease Control encourages parents in self-efficacy. This is a parent’s belief in her own ability to raise her child. Believing in herself as a parent gives her strength and the confidence to be the leader in the home. By recognizing her own worth as a parent, she shows that she values herself as well as her child. This models healthy self-esteem and sets a good example of self-sufficiency for the child.
Placing the Child First
Good parents know how to place the needs of the child first. Placing the child first shows him that he is important and nurtures his self-esteem. It helps him feel loved. It’s not about giving the child toys or gadgets. It means giving the child time. Good parents listen when he shares his thoughts and fears. They spend time with the child on a regular basis, away from television and computers so that the child and parents can connect.
Handling Stress and Anger
Parenting comes with stress and anger. Children don’t always understand if Dad has had a hard day at work, or Mom is worried about family finances. Babies will still wake up in the night and little ones will still clamor for attention. Older children and teens will do and say things designed to make parents mad. Good parents know how to manage the stress that comes with parenting. Whenever possible, good parents relax. They let go of anger as quickly as possible. Good parents forgive the child while holding the child accountable for his actions.
Time for Fun
Fun relieves stress in both children and parents. Play does more than just make great memories. Making time for fun shows the child her importance, and models good balance between responsibility and recreation. Playing with her at every age, from infancy to adulthood, helps parents connect to the rapidly changing temperament and understanding of the child. This helps Mom and Dad make the right decisions for and with the child.
Good parents recognize that, ultimately, they are working themselves out of a job. When the time comes, the child will become an adult and won’t need the guidance of parents every day. This empty nest isn’t something that good parents dread. Instead it is something that they look forward to and celebrate. It is the sign of a job well done.