As a parent, you want to model the characteristics of a good person and do what’s best for your children. But what does that mean? Here are some qualities of a good parent – simple things about your parenting style that makes all the difference to your kids.
What to Expect
Being a good parent is not an easy task. It requires enormous patience, love, and understanding.
These are the top qualities of good parents (with advice to improve if you’re struggling in these areas):
- A good listener
- Able to handle emotions effectively
Let’s start simple – you need to treat all your kids equally. It can be incredibly hurtful for any of your children to see you play favorites amongst the kids, especially for the least favorite child.
When you treat your children equally, you help each one develop their sense of self-worth. You also show them what it means to be fair and kind so that they have an example to follow as they grow older.
Remember that equal treatment does not necessarily mean interacting with everyone the exact same way.
Say you have to reprimand your child for something. Maybe one of your kids does well with a playful or teasing tone and appreciates how humor can lighten the mood of a difficult conversation. Maybe another prefers serious talks–to them, joking around or teasing feels like you’re making fun of them.
Be flexible in your parenting and interact with each of these kids in the way that’s most productive for them.
A good listener
Your child is a person–their thoughts and feelings matter! A good parent will take the time to listen to their child when they tell you something about how they feel, what they like or dislike, or what they’re worried about.
Sometimes your child will volunteer this information, but other times you’ll need to ask! Asking good questions and listening to your child’s answers is one of the best ways to show them that you care.
At some point, your child will be upset about a choice you’ve made.
For example, say you’re moving to a new area and your child doesn’t want to go. You don’t have to cancel the move to be a good parent, but you do need to be emotionally available and support them throughout this transition.
Just knowing that you’re there for them and that you care about what they’re thinking and feeling will mean a lot to your child.
Your child may not always know how to communicate how they feel. They might not even know exactly how they feel in the first place! It’s important for you to stay in touch with your child and help them develop language to communicate their emotions.
Take the time to help your child practice better communication!
Prepared for the big moments
When you become a parent, you’re setting yourself up to deal with some difficult things. You’ll need to talk to your kid about lots of heavy or awkward topics.
From puberty, gender and sexuality, self-care, friendship, and money management to sex and consent, alcohol, relationship abuse, or the death of a loved one – these conversations will go the best if you think about how you want to approach them ahead of time.
Parents are people, and people mess up sometimes!
One of the best things you can do as a parent is to own up to your mistakes and apologize when you need to.
This sets a good example for your kids and gives them practice at managing and resolving conflict.
Able to Handle Your Emotions Effectively
People may find themselves losing their temper at times when they are with their children. This can happen because of various reasons such as lack of sleep or stress from work. But, it can lead to feeling regretful for something which you said to your child later on or even worsen the relationship between a parent and child.
Anger is a natural human emotion. It’s irrational, and usually comes in response to some type of frustration or disappointment.
However, it’s important to try and get your anger out of your system before it overwhelms you.
The key to being a good parent is learning how to effectively handle your emotions. Anger can be especially difficult for parents, as there is no quick fix. However, there are some tried-and-true ways to get those feelings under control. Read on for some tips on handling anger in a healthy way.
In order to be a good parent, you should be able to handle your emotions effectively. To do so, you can try and handle anger in the following ways:
- Try to see things from other people’s perspectives
- Take a break and do something else. Walk away temporarily or take a few deep breaths outside, if possible.
- Talk about it with someone who can offer help.
- Write down your thoughts. Take a moment to journal what, when, where, and how the anger made you feel. This will help release chemicals in the body that will calm you down.
- Remind yourself why your anger is happening and what might be making it worse (e.g., too much noise).
If you’re a parent or plan to be a parent in the future, work on developing these qualities now so you can be the best parent you can be!
For more parenting inspiration, check out these helpful resources:
- Parenting Manual 101 – If you’ve ever thought that kids should come with an instruction manual… this is for you! My favorite section is the section on anger management. It’s perfect for kids AND parents.
- Characteristics of Effective Parenting
- Breaking Free From Insecure Parenting