Wondering if you're doing enough? Here are the 11 signs of good parenting
As a parent, are you comparing yourself too much with other parents? Being a good parent isn't all about how good you're doing compared to other people. Your only metric for success is your relationship with your kids.
What is a good parent? If you’re thinking whether you’re doing a good job as a mom or dad, then you probably are one. But if you want to know what the characteristics of a good parent are, you can learn more about them here.
What can you read in this
- Good parent checklist – what are the qualities that make a good parent?
- Kids’ behavior that show you’re doing enough
Modern parents these days hold themselves to significantly higher standards than when our parents were raising us. We struggle to do the best we can, afraid that we’re failing our kids. Are you always worried about being a good parent to your kids?
It’s just so tempting and easy to compare ourselves to friends, relatives, or even social-media-famous parents. But we don’t really know if, behind the perfect photos and wide smiles, there’s a mom struggling to make things work for her child.
So we should stop seeing other parents as a measuring stick to our success and instead, we should look at our kids and how they’re doing – physically, mentally, and emotionally, as our measure of whether we’re being a good parent or not.
If you’re parenting with the love and compassion that comes freely and unconditionally, then everything else follows.
No pressure coming from us, but if you want to know if you’re doing it right, here are some signs that you’re on the right track according to experts.
11 signs that, yes, you’re being a good parent
1. Your child shows you a range of emotions.
Children can be volatile when they’re discovering big emotions. They may be difficult to handle sometimes, but your child’s willingness to express anger, sadness, guilt or fear in front of you is a good sign. It means they feel emotionally safe with you. There is no fear of being judged or scolded.
Parents should be worried when their children hide their feelings from them. This is often a sign of the child’s lack of trust in you and probably a deeper problem in your relationship with them.
So do not shut them down. Pay attention to them. Show them that you appreciate them and that they don’t need to be afraid of expressing how they feel. Show them that they can trust you.
You can say “I can see from how you’re destroying your toys that you’re very angry. And you’re telling me this is because your sister won’t let you play.” It shows that you understand what they’re going through and that you can handle their emotions.
2. Your child goes to you when they have a problem.
You know you’re being a good parent when your child comes to you for advice or comfort when they have a problem. This means you have built a strong bond between the two of you that’s based on trust. You provided your child with a secure space that your child can go to when they’re feeling vulnerable.
That’s what homemaking is all about, after all. For them, you are home.
Encourage this by welcoming your child with open arms, whatever the circumstance, and listening to their problems. They may seem small or petty to you, but if you dismiss the small ones, then they won’t go to you for the big ones.
3. Your child discusses thoughts and feelings with you without fearing judgment.
This means you and your child have an accepting, open, and flexible relationship.
Some parents unwittingly make the mistake of restricting communication between them and their children. This can be by overreacting to their children’s thoughts or feelings, or by telling their kids to shut up when kids criticize them.
If they say something like “I don’t like brushing my teeth,” you don’t need to scold them about it. Ask them why first and tell them nicely what would happen if they don’t brush their teeth. Having healthy, decent discussions with your children helps build respect between the two of you.
4. Your feedback is non-critical and non-labeling.
A good parent avoids labels like “naughty,” “ugly,” “greedy,” “lazy,” “fat,” or “bad.” Parents should also avoid labels or stereotypes by pointing out something as too “girly” or “boyish.”
Giving too many critical feedback boxes to your child represses them, and puts pressure on them to be people you prefer instead of love. And when a child is repressed and pressured, they might go off and release that pressure later on in ugly ways – like an unexploded landmine.
If your child ruins the cake in the fridge, focus on the behavior (“You did a bad thing”), not the child (“You are a bad boy”).
5. You encourage your child to pursue interests and talents.
When children pursue their interests and practice their talents, they feel a sense of achievement. It gives them something to focus on, not because they were forced to do something, but because their interest resonates with what they want and who they are.
Encouraging your child’s interests and talents positively engages them through their teen years, up until their young adult years. It teaches them persistence and perseverance and gives them a greater sense of fulfillment.
It’s not good to direct your child’s interest to fulfill your unrealized dreams and needs. Forcing them to excel at something they don’t want can only lead to disaster, even when they appear to be doing well.
6. You create boundaries on behavior to keep your child safe.
A good parent guides their child’s behavior by setting down healthy boundaries and limits. Without knowing their boundaries and limits, children grow up either entitled or unable to tell when people or walking all over them.
Teach them that there are limits to what they can do to/with other people, and there are limits to what people can do to/with them. They can’t just take their classmate’s stuff. That’s a boundary. And certainly, their classmates can’t just take their stuff as well. That’s a boundary, too.
These boundaries range from ethical and moral boundaries to etiquette (respectful language), to routines (brushing their teeth).
7. You accept your mistakes and fix them.
The willingness to acknowledge your mistake and fix it is a sign of a good parent. It tells your children that you value them more than your own ego. So when you do something that’s out of line, whether you yell, overreact, or insult your child, fix it.
Talk to your child, admit your mistakes, and tell them you want to make up for them. You can ask them what they’d wish you had done instead, because it takes into account their wants and needs, instead of making it all about you.
8. You make it a point to spend time with them.
Although spending a lot of your time with your kids can be difficult, especially if you’re working, making this a priority is a sign of good parenting.
While out-of-town vacations and road trips are nice, they don’t always have to be that way.
“The point is that you’re together, hopefully without electronic devices, and focusing on each other. Kids who have regular dinner with their parents — especially with dad — do better in school, have higher self-esteem, and are less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol or become teen parents,” said Armin Brott, author of the book The New Father: A Dad’s Guide to the First Year.
So make it a point to always eat one meal of the day together. Put down your phones and engage on meaningful conversations while enjoying good food as a family.
9. You gave up a bad habit to set a good example.
Aside from admitting your mistakes, part of being a good parent is trying to be a good role model to our kids. Whether it’s quitting an addictive vice like smoking or spending less time on your phone and more on taking care of your baby, giving up a bad habit in favor of your child’s welfare is a step in the right direction.
So when you think of doing something that you know you ought to be quitting, or if you feel like making a decision out of impulse, remember that your child looks to you as an example. Always strive to be the kind of person you and your child will be proud of.
10. You have your own life apart from being a parent.
News flash: taking some time away from being mom or dad, and wanting a few hours to yourself without the kids does not make you a bad parent. In fact, it’s the opposite.
While it may seem that our children are our whole world, the truth is they’re not. We have been teaching them how to be independent for a reason.
Because they have their own lives to live, and so do we, which is why it’s important that we still keep our own interests, hobbies, and friends. We can’t let our lives revolve only around our children.
A good parent knows that self-care is essential to give the best care for her family. How can you take care of your family’s needs if you are sick?
Moreover, if you give all of your time and attention to your child, it will leave you resentful and angry, and no kid deserves an angry parent.
So if you want your child to learn how to value herself, you should show her what it’s like to be a full-grown adult who knows how to look after herself and go after her own wants and dreams.
11. Your kids do the right thing when you’re not around.
Much of what we have been striving to do as parents are so that our children will be fine when we’re not with them anymore. And this is one of the rewards that we will reap for our sacrifice.
One of the best feelings that I get as a parent is when I’m told by my child’s teacher that she was kind or helpful in class. And when I catch my kids being kind and loving to each other when they think I’m not looking.
If you’re looking for a sign of good parenting, the most obvious one is if your child does the right thing even when you’re not around.
They might not be successful the first few times, but as long as they know where they messed up and they try to correct it, then that means they are growing in the right direction.
What being a good parent is all about
Being a good parent is not about whether your child has a diet that befits an athlete or has high grades. It’s about having a healthy relationship with them as young people, setting the stage for a closer, more secure relationship as they grow older.
This type of relationship creates an environment where your child can thrive and become a well-adjusted teenager and then an adult. Having a relationship based on external factors like beauty, intelligence, or academic achievement is no match to a relationship based on love, respect, trust, and compassion.
So who’s a good parent? You are.
Republished with permission from theAsianParent Singapore