- Family and Parenting
Parenting Skills: What Makes a Good Parent
Dad and Daughter
Being a parent is an interesting experience. As a parent you are completely responsible for another human being for a minimum of eighteen years. You have to feed, raise and keep this person safe; if you don’t there are government agencies established to come pay you a visit.
What has always struck me as a little bit odd is that anyone can become a parent. There are no qualifications or pre-requisites needed to become a mom or a dad, besides being physically able to reproduce. With so many laws in place to protect our kids, and rightfully so may I add, it has always been interesting to see people who are parents; especially when it is obvious that being a parent isn’t a main priority.
I envision a good parent being someone who is connected to their children emotionally and having a very good understanding of what makes their kids tick. As parents we know when our kids are holding back information so sometimes sitting down to talk to our kids is crucial to fully comprehending what they are dealing with. Parents have to wear so many different hats one of them might as well be a detective hat right?
Kids are subjected to things that can possibly cause them to clam up and not reach out if they are having problems. Parents get the chore of extracting these problems and issues so they can be worked on and hopefully resolved or at worst improved upon. To be able to successfully do this we need to be on the same page as our children, a good parent knows this channel and watches it religiously.
Do you consider yourself to be a good parent?
Part of growing up is being active in extra-curricular activities. As a parent your interests shouldn’t be the primary reason for your children playing a sport or playing in the band. Being a parent is all about thinking with your children’s interests first; living vicariously through your kids can lead to conflict later and should try to be avoided.
Don’t get me wrong, if you love baseball and want to sign your child up for Little League there is nothing wrong with it. Just please talk to the child first and make sure they actually want to play baseball. Just because you love the sport it doesn’t make it automatic that they will too.
I coached a baseball team of thirteen and fourteen year olds where I had one fourteen year old that just didn’t seem to have his heart in it. I couldn’t tell if he was uncomfortable on the field or was having trouble at school or home. After a few weeks of seeing this lackadaisical effort I pulled him off to the side and asked him what was going on. He initially was a little bit evasive and tried to deflect my questions. Our conversation continued for a few minutes before I hit pay dirt, he didn’t want to play baseball…his mom signed him up against his wishes because she thought it would be good for him. I’m not going to question her parenting skills but, to me, this isn’t a very positive thing to do for your child. I can promise you that he wasn’t having any fun playing baseball with us. Spare your child this kind of frustration and sign them up for something that they are actually interested in.
Parenting Tips, Meet Their Friends
Your children will one day want to go to a friend’s house to play or even spend the night. Take the time to get to know your kids’ friends. While you are at it meet their parents, it certainly cannot hurt to be on a first name basis with them too.
This participation serves two purposes. First you now know who your kids are spending their time with and possibly where. Knowing this will help you immensely in keeping them safe. Second your kids will feel that you are active in their lives and it could give them a feeling of reassurance. Kids can be so insecure sometimes so if you can do something as minor as knowing who their friends are it can really help their confidence stay at a desirable level; it really is a win-win situation for parents.
Best of Friends
Being your kids’ friend should be easy right? Sometimes it is not. As they get older they get smarter and braver when it comes to talking back to their parents. They test more and can say some really awful things to their parents. Parents need to maintain calm and have thick skin when their kids are acting out in a hormone induced rage.
I recall a conversation I had with our son right about the time he became a teenager. I reassured him that we loved him and we would do whatever we could to give him what he wanted but there would be times when we couldn’t, or wouldn’t. I proceeded to tell him that I would absolutely love to be his friend but my primary role was to be his parent and sometimes that job would require making a tough decision, one he might not necessarily agree with. Such a decision might anger him and he might lash out at us as being mean or not fair or he might even feel like he hates us.
I told him that I would reluctantly accept that negativity and would risk losing some of his respect if I strongly felt that my decision was, in the long term, the best for him. He might not understand the rationale for the decision now but one day he would.
We all want our kids to be bigger and better than us. We want them to be smarter, more successful, make more money, etc. Part of being a good parent is laying a strong foundation for our kids and giving them the tools to continue building their lives after we take a step back.