We all want to be good parents. But how do you manage that? What qualities does a good parent have? How do we overcome the behaviors we adopted as a result of our own childhood experiences? What strengths do good parents offer their kids? How does a good parent behave and respond? As a parent, we can feel overwhelmed with questions like these. The truth is that there is no such thing as a perfect parent but there are some things we can take into our own parenting journey that can help us be the best parents we can be. Let’s take a closer look.
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Our children need parents who know how to be loving. So what does that look like? Parents who are warm and welcoming to their children are considered loving. Showing affection and concern to your children encourages them to feel loved as well.
The ability to remain calm while parenting can at times feel like an unmanageable feat. Especially when facing meltdowns, talking back, or tantrums of other forms. However, good parents try their best to stay calm in the chaos. By keeping our own emotions in check we can model how we would prefer our children respond in times of stress or strain. And oftentimes, also prevent escalation.
None of us are patient all of the time. However, you can get better at modeling patience by identifying the things that trigger you and being prepared to take action regarding your own behavior before trying to deal with that of your child. Sometimes we need to step back, count to ten, breathe deeply, or pray before we react. Other times we need to really think through what is triggering the behavior and change the structure of the situation to prevent the tantrum in the first place.
I am not a doctor or a therapist, I am just a mom. As a mom, I highly recommend reading Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting (The Peaceful Parent Series) for help becoming a more patient parent. I wish I had received it at my baby shower.
Good parents set limits. They hold their child accountable and refrain from enabling bad behavior. They set rules and they follow through with consequences. They catch their children being good and praise them. They find or create ways in which their child can be part of solutions and contribute. They encourage independence and believe in the ability of their child to follow through and complete tasks. They help their children think through solutions before offering them. They apologize and accept apologies with grace.
Good parents are caring towards their children and themselves. They notice and point out the good qualities and behaviors of their children. They are considerate and generous with their children. They tend to parent with a sense of empathy. Empathy defined is as: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
Maintain balance between best friend and in charge.
This can be a tricky line to walk but good parents are focused on being the person their child comes to first in times of trouble as well as being the person they respect and obey. So while it’s important that our children know who is in charge, it is also important that they feel they can confide in us and be trusted by us.
Children want and need boundaries and they also want and need some freedom and independence. As I said, it’s a fine line. So here it is in a nutshell, good parents try to be the parent first and the friend second. They refrain from confiding in their children but seek to be a place where their children can confide in them. They are good listeners, spend a lot of time together, and when safe offer independence and opportunities for freedom.
Good parents are willing to do whatever it takes to support their families. They don’t make excuses and are never willing to quit. Good parents have grit. They are resolved to make things work and they have the courage and determination to do the hard work and show up no matter what. They make their family their passion. They persevere optimistically. If you feel like you need some help developing grit I recommend the audiobook Grit by Angela Duckworth.
Good parents are educators. They teach their kids how to cook, clean, maintain a home, take care of their mental health, manage a family, ski, skate, and play in general. And so many other things. Good parents model and share a love for learning and are eager to work to develop their children’s skills and abilities together.
Good parents are supportive. They encourage their kids to do their best. They are good listeners, refraining from interrupting and offering solutions until their child has finished expressing themselves. They encourage, uplift, and express confidence in their children.
Have a sense of humor
Laughter truly is the best medicine. Parents with a good sense of humor can make really good parents. They do not make jokes at their child’s expense but rather use humor to break a tense moment or encourage a job to be done. Acting silly together can increase a sense of connection with your kids and lift spirits quickly.
Good parents show up at their children’s games, recitals, family picnics, and events. But they also show up when their kids want to talk. Put down their phones and really show up. They show up unexpectedly to take them for ice cream or a treat, they show up with a hug, a kind word, an unexpected note in the lunch box, a pat on the back, a smile from the crowd. The best parents are present and supportive.
Lead by example
Good parents don’t hide behind the, “do as I say and not as I do,’ philosophy. Instead, they lead by example. They demonstrate through their own words and actions how to behave and how to respond to the world around them. And when they mess up they own it and apologize. Good parents lead the way and model good living.
Good parents speak positively to their children. They speak life and love to and over their children. Things like this… I will love you no matter what. I love spending time with you. I’m grateful for you. I believe in you. Excellent try. You make me smile. I like how you think. You don’t have to be perfect. I appreciate you. You make a difference. My world is better because you are in it.
Take care of their own mental health…
Good parents know that mental health is as important as physical health and they take time to take care of theirs. They try to make sleep a priority. They exercise even if it’s just a walk through the park. They try to eat healthy, practice gratitude, stay connected, and set goals. When they need help with their mental health they seek it out.
Communicate – Talk and Listen
This one keeps coming up. But I’m going to say it one more time. Good parents are good listeners and they include their kids in conversation. They invite their kids to speak openly and honestly to them. They put down their phones and remove distractions so they can focus on the child. They delay responding until the child has expressed themself fully. They talk less and listen more. They allow their body language to speak as well letting the child know they are listening and they want to hear what the child is saying.
Good parents allow their children some independence. Depending on the age it could be by allowing them to pick their own outfit or for older kids, trusting them to have solo social outings. Good parents often set up chore schedules. They encourage volunteering so kids can try things they have never done before. Good parents find ways to offer their kids choices. And they encourage their kids to set goals and meet them.
Good parents apologize when they make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. Kids and their parents. Recognizing and owning your mistake is important at every age. The ability to apologize is a requirement of most relationships and your child will need to know how to deliver a sincere apology more than once. Good parents don’t need to apologize for every small mistake but when they have genuinely done something wrong or hurt someone’s feelings they can deliver an apology while teaching their kids how to be reflective and take responsibility.
Love the kid they have not who they wish their kid would be…
Good parents make sure that their child knows that their presence brings them joy. Regardless. Your child may be very different from you. You may have expected to share things with your child that they have no interest in. Your child may not be the child you imagined having when you were setting up that nursery. Accept and love them for who they are. Love them in every phase they go through and any struggles they have. Good parents love their children unconditionally.
Teach community involvement
Good parents get their kids involved in the community. They volunteer knowing that volunteering can reduce the risk of depression and increase self-confidence in their kids. It can foster a heart for service. It empowers kids to be part of the solutions to the troubles in the world that grieve them. They teach them how to befriend the neighbors, how to support the small businesses in their town, how to vote, and how to serve their community. This gives children a sense of belonging and support that lasts throughout their life.
Good parents play with their kids. They make time to be playful and share experiences regardless of the age of their child. They enjoy spending time with their kids and creating opportunities to play whether it be game nights or weekends at the campground. These interactions help children feel special, wanted, included, and valued.
Good parents set limits and are clear and consistent about what the rules and consequences are. They follow through on consequences. They reinforce good behavior and redirect bad behavior. Good parents discuss behaviors with their kids and emphasize what is acceptable and what is not. They ask questions to get to the bottom of what is behind bad behavior and seek to find solutions to prevent reoccurrence. They remain calm. They see that all discipline is age-appropriate.
Again, I am not a doctor I am a mom. A mom who reads a lot and is very passionate about helping to create happy and healthy families. I truly believe that each of these focus points has the potential to strengthen your relationship with your child/children. Also, I love to hear from you. Please feel welcome to share in the comments section below what you thought of this list and any other focus point you think might help another parent.
Wishing you all of the best,
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