One of the most difficult jobs in the world is to be a good parent – to raise children and help them grow up into happy, emotionally healthy, responsible and intelligent adults who can contribute to the world. Parenting1 should not be lopsided but balanced, an aspect of a child’s life should not be left at the detriment of the other, and academic achievements should not be placed above moral values, nor vice versa is parenting a full package, complete and total.
Compared to many years ago, today’s parents have generally abdicated their roles as Teachers, Leaders, and Mentors. Parents are now more of providers especially of Money and material comfort. Back then, parents were most concerned about character and right and wrong.
Today, a greater concern is with academic achievements. So much money is invested in our Children’s Education but only an atom goes into character formation a standpoint that accepts a generally characterless educational system, which includes widespread of atrocities of all kinds. We are all very busy, it’s true. We have great pressures and responsibilities pulling us in too many directions so many times we wish we had more than 24hrs to meet our daily targets but suddenly the day ends and we have just barely gone halfway on our ‘To-Do lists.’
One of the many roles of a parent is that of ‘Leadership.’
A leader is a guide, he has an understanding of where the follower should be or get to, so he makes himself available to help the follower get to his (follower’s) destination.
As arduous as Parenting can be, leadership in any organization is equally so. The leadership role is one of the most difficult roles in the workplace. The leaders in an organization help the employees grow their skills so that they can be fulfilled in their workplace and be able to contribute responsibly and intelligently to the growth of the organization.
QUALITIES OF A GOOD PARENT
Quality #1. Ability to Empathize with Your Child
A good parent is someone who can empathize. Being empathetic is a powerful tool to help your child through any problem they may be experiencing. To help your child, you must first understand and try to empathize with the thoughts and feelings they are having. Only once you’ve empathized will your child be receptive to your guidance.
Children don’t always tell you how they feel and instead show you how they are feeling with their body language. As an example of the benefits of being able to read body language: your child comes home from school claiming they had a good day. Yet, they are being quiet and looking sulky. Obviously, there’s a good chance something happened at school that is bothering them.
You should take the time to figure out what happened. Find out how they are feeling and let them know you understand why they feel the way they do. Providing a story from your past which caused you to feel the same way is a great way to show empathy. After you’ve empathized, you can give them advice on how to handle the situation in the future.
Quality #2. Leader by Example
The best parents lead by example. Without this trait, none of the other traits matter. As parents, we absolutely must lead by example. Whatever message we are sending verbally to our children, we must also be living that same message.
If you’re telling your child to respect others and then constantly yelling at your spouse, your child is going to learn to yell in arguments instead of being respectful.
If you want your child to read more often then you need to make sure you’re reading just as often as you’d like them to read. You should always ensure that the message you’re sending verbally is being reinforced by your actions.
Quality #3. Discipline with a Goal for Mental Growth
A good parent is someone who disciplines with a focus on helping their child develop mentally. The human brain takes 25 years to fully develop. As babies, we are born with our brains constantly operating in the “fight or flight” mode. We are dominated by fear and emotion which is controlled by our instinctual-based brain part called the amygdala.
As we learn about the world around us, our brain has experiences which develop the upper portions of ours. This portion of our brain gives us the ability to think logically and to reason. A parent should strive to teach their children why they feel the emotions they feel and how to better understand and navigate the situation that has triggered such emotions. In these teachable moments, we can guide our child toward mental growth.
Think of a child’s brain as a computer or phone that comes with pre-loaded software. This pre-loaded software is a suite of extreme “fear”, “sadness”, “joy” and other powerful emotions. As parents, it’s our job to install new software such as “reasoning”, “logic”, “decision making” and other important social/life skills.
When a child is acting up or being highly emotional, it’s because his amygdala (the emotional part of his brain) is taking control of his or her world. When it’s time to discipline your child for their actions, you must first determine why they are acting the way they are – it’s likely an emotional response to whatever is occurring around them.
Are your kids fighting? Sending them to their room will likely end the fight. However, teaching them how to properly discuss their issues and come to a fair agreement with their sibling allows them to develop important social skills. By using occasions such as these to teach your kids, you’re literally strengthening their brain and helping them to mature quicker.
Another example would be when your child throws a fit when it’s time to shower or go to bed. You may have these types of battles several times but each time you must reiterate the importance of having a healthy body. Eventually, they’ll come to the realization that they’re doing themselves a favor by cleaning their body and teeth and begin doing it with joy.
Every moment with your child is a teachable moment. Make sure that when you’re disciplining your child that your aim is to teach them something as opposed to putting your foot down and making demands while proclaiming “because I said so!” If you find that you do this, it’s likely you’re an authoritarian parent. I would highly recommend you switch to a more authoritative parenting style.
Quality #4. Teacher of Life Skills
Good parents teach their children life skills. Parenting can be boiled down to one central idea: kids are adults in training. If this idea is at the forefront of your mind, it will affect the way you parent and you’ll find your kids maturing at an astounding rate. With this in mind, one of the best ways to train our children to become highly functional adults is to teach them important life skills. I’ll highlight four of the most important life skills but know that there are many more that a child should be taught. These are just the four most important. They include:
- Good Nutritional habits
- Upkeep/Maintenance of Body and Belongings
- Work Ethic
Quality #5. Investor of Quality Time
A good parent is someone who spends quality time with their child. Every child desires attention from their parents, especially the younger kids. Spend time every day talking to your children. You let your child know you care by asking about their day. Don’t be generic and ask “how was your day?” Instead, think differently and ask “what about your day brought you the most joy?” You’re likely to get a lot better response and start a much more fruitful conversation.
You should also spend time daily doing activities with your child. If your child enjoys sports, toss a ball around with them. Is your child a Lego lover like mine? If so, you should help them build something awesome together. Whatever your children’s interest may be, you should try to include yourself in those activities. Your child will be thrilled to have your attention and these opportunities will yield plenty of teachable moments for you to help your child’s brain grow.
Those are the few of the most important qualities of a good parent. I hope you’re already exhibiting all of these awesome parental qualities. If not, you should work on incorporating them into your parenting style. Your child will benefit tremendously from your efforts and you too will find joy developing these characteristics as well.