Are You Good Enough? What Makes A Good Parent?
Updated December 07, 2018
Today's parents are questioning their parenting skills more than any other parents in history. With the advent of social media allowing us all to share our parenting successes and brag on our children's accomplishments at the drop of a hat, many of us don't feel like we quite measure up to others within our peer groups. So let's take a look at what makes a good parent.
The History Of Parenting
The goal of parenting used to be to raise children to adulthood. Parenting was considered "successful" if the children wound up with a good character and contributed to society. Parents weren't expected to entertain their kids, do excessive crafts, or maintain a model home. Kids needed to be clothed, fed, and looked after. It was simple, and it was effective.
Fast-forward to today's culture, "success" is defined as raising a child to an impressive adulthood - coupled with a memorable and magical childhood. Kids not only need to have good character but also rock-star grades, scholarship-worthy athletic skills, and photo albums documenting the scores of projects, vacations, and memories made as they grew up. A parent's identity is wrapped up in the success (or failure) of their child.
Which unfortunately, isn't actually good for the child (or the parent)?
What Makes A Good Parent?
With so many pressing expectations of parents these days, it's hard to decipher public parenting opinion from research-based facts. If you're looking to raise an emotionally healthy person with a strong character, make sure you're doing these things.
You love your child. You may not like them every day, or you may be disappointed in some of their decisions, but at the end of the day, you love them.
You give your child food, clothes, and shelter. If you're meeting your child's physical needs, you're a good parent.
You meet your child's emotional needs. This doesn't mean you spend every moment of every day playing with your child. But it does mean that you spend quality one-on-one time with them, nurturing their heart and showing them that they are valued and important to you.
You tell them no. Children need to learn to respect authority as they get older, and learn how to respond to an appropriate "no." They also need to be shielded from things that aren't good for them. As a parent, it's your job to do both.
You allow them to fail. It hurts to watch your child get hurt but it also develops resilience which is critical for appropriate functioning later in life. If you rescue your child because you believe "good parents" prevent their children from experiencing emotional pain, you are actually robbing them of a growth experience they need to have.
You've heard it said that "It takes a village to raise a child." This remains true today. Having a village allows you to peek into the reality of other families and normalizes your own struggles. It also allows you to have concrete role models for your areas of weakness, allowing you to improve by following their examples. Finally, it offers you support during difficult seasons of parenting.
If you don't feel like you have a supportive "village" around you with parenting and you need help figuring out how to find one, if you struggle with social relationships, or are having a hard time parenting, consider seeking supportive online counseling through Betterhelp.com. For a season, they'll be a part of your village until you can find your own.