By Teresa: The CuteKid™ Staff
What makes a good parent? Good parents don’t just happen. Good parents grow and apply lessons that they have learned. They are continually trying to improve themselves and their parenting skills. Author and Pediatrician Marianne Neifert shares the seven things that will help you understand what makes a good parent.
1. Provide unconditional love and encouragement to your child. Saying “I love you,” is important. But even more important is showing your child that you love them by giving your time and attention. Playing games, reading stories, and talking all show your love. Encouragement is also essential. Every child needs to feel like their parents are their best cheerleader. And with their parents help they can accomplish anything. I often tell my son you can do and be whatever you want and he believes me.
2. Make your kids a high priority. This doesn’t mean that you don’t take care of yourself and your marriage. But it does mean that your children should come before others. This may mean that you need to say “no” sometimes. I have a hard time saying “no” and I often have to remind myself that if I say “yes” I will be placing my children lower on my priority list.
3. Strengthen your team. Strengthening your team applies to parents. It means that parents agree beforehand on “important issues like rules and discipline.” They discuss together important decisions that need to be made concerning the children and family.
4. Discipline consistently. To cultivate this quality of being a good parent is one of the hardest things to do. At the end of a hard day it is so easy to give in to a child that is crying or whining, but that is not consistent. It does not teach them and only makes your job as a parent more difficult. Set limits and rules and always enforce them.
5. Teach responsibility. Give your children responsibilities. My son is required to make his own bed. He also empties the small garbage cans every week. All my children are responsible for helping clean up the house and clearing their dishes off of the table. Children need to understand that they are responsible for their own actions and the consequences that follow. I often tell my children “no one can make you mad, you choose how you react.”
6. Create togetherness through routines. Daily, weekly, or even yearly family rituals create a bond between family members. It may be as simple as reading a book together every night or taking a yearly trip to the beach. Our family eats pizza and watches a movie every Friday night. Dr. Neifert says rituals provide the "social glue that bonds one generation to another, creating many of the special anchor memories within a family".
7. Take time to recharge. Parents need to take some time for themselves. When you are running on empty you are not doing your children any good. “Sleep deprivation, isolation and self-neglect can leave parents feeling physically depleted, emotionally discouraged and ineffective.” My husband and I spend time together every evening after putting our children in bed. We also have a date night every Saturday night, though it usually consists of watching a movie or playing games at home, we take the time to be together.