We find that a good parent has these five traits…
1. Be kind and loving
Life is one giant learning curve, especially when you’re a child. By the time they turn 10, it’ll hit you how short their childhood really is. Be the safe-haven for them to escape to, and they’re likely to confide in and be close to you throughout their lives.
2. Practice balance
You owe it to yourself and them to be present. Kids will learn that change is good and not to be feared, when changes you make affect and improve everyone’s lives – especially if it means spending more time with them. Exhibiting flexibility and adaptability will help prepare them for a life that’s full of change. There’s no room in parenting for rigidity, so leave it by the wayside.
3. Be consistent
Well, to a point! Beth Woolsey writer and ‘humourist’ at the ‘Five Kids Is A Lot of Kids’ blog argues;
“What if consistency isn’t the key to good parenting? Consistency for me, it turned out, meant consistently falling short of the consistency goal. Every time I let them have a cookie for a snack instead of fresh fruit because I was too tired to cut another apple, INCONSISTENT. Every time I let them watch just one more show or talk me into a late bedtime or delay a chore, INCONSISTENT…I clung to consistency like it was the answer. An answer I kept getting wrong, sure, but still a magical answer which was the Holy Grail of Parenting, really… something that would fix all my parenting, if only I could find and master it.”
There’s no room in parenting for rigidity, so leave it by the wayside
Sound familiar? We’re thinking whoever wrote ‘consistency’ into that elusive Great Parenting Handbook had the bigger things in a child’s life in mind – a predictable routine, a parent who can keep their temper in check, and who consistently enforces the non-negotiables, like wearing a seatbelt and not harming the family pets…
4. Be a teamplayer
Parenting is also not all-out war between you and your kids, Beth reminds us. “You’re learning how to be a family together. It’s messy and muddy and we’re neck-deep in the muck. We’re all on the same team – not rushing away to make plans behind closed doors or regrouping in secret to launch a new offensive – and it turns out our kids learn more about teamwork from watching us have our conflicts (with each other and them) and resolve them well (and poorly) than they do from our easy, peaceful exchanges. We’re teaching them to be human, after all – flawed and still fabulous… and always deeply, deeply worthy of love.”
5. Model fairness, patience and respect
These offer children a stable and ‘safe’ framework within which to live freely. Model the important things, “like mercy and understanding. Grace and kindness. And the fact that who people are and what they need are always more important than strict adherence to the rules”.