How to be a Good Parent?

A million dollar question…a million answers.

I asked a 7-year old….who would you consider being a good parent? He replied that one who will let him have candies all the time, does not force him to go to school, let him watch the phone whenever he wants, and does not whack him.”

I asked a 12-year old the same question. She replied that someone who loves her, a good parent would encourage her if she stalled, one who would correct her mistakes, would understand her fears and moods and would listen to her and who would bring laughter into the home and forgive her if she says sorry.”

Food for thought… So what is it that makes a parent?

A perfect parent is an idea, a desire, a dream. Certainly no ready formula.

The answer perhaps lies in a combination of all the above.

Every parent wants the best for the child. The point is what the parent considers best need not be the best for the individual. The idea a parent has—”I know what is best for my child”—is untrue. A parent wants the best is true of course, but sometimes going down the path of best is a path leading to madness! It is not what you have do for your children but what you have taught them to do for themselves will make them successful and balanced human beings.

1. Unconditional love defined by common-sense and practicality will help a child go a long way. True parental love ensures protection. It imparts strength, instils responsibility and ready responses to challenges and readies one to take no for an answer. It is the cornerstone for value addition and character building.

2. Great expectations can cause great disasters. Reasonable hopes based on reality check and moderation of goals can help remove many of the stresses and strains of the daily grind. Don’t stop talking or getting the children to talk. Body language often yields signs to take note of. Never look away ….look at and look to how one can help.

3. I see, I learn. Children are great observers. They see and are influenced by their environment. They learn from more what the parents are, than what one teaches them. Mixed signals in saying something and doing otherwise reveals only double standards and children are quick to ape that. The sign of great parenting is not the child’s behaviour, it is the sign of the parent’s behaviour.

4.Look, listen and learn. “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.” A time-old adage should be moulded to suit the art of good parenting.

Do look at ones child and see the individual for his actual self –both good and bad. Then take stock.
Listen very carefully and closely as to what the child is saying or not saying. The art of listening is undeniably at a premium for good parenting.

Speak without critical judgement but more from a corrective angle.

5. Laughter is the best medicine. It is important to keep one’s sense of humour intact. Too much seriousness upsets the equilibrium in the family ethos. Be silly, be honest, be kind!! Sometimes look the other way, laugh with your children and enjoy! Laugh with them not at them.

6.United we stand. Family togetherness is essential to the fabric of a happy family. Mutual respect, helping each other, discipline by understanding and sticking it out together through thick and thin, binds and enriches a home.The most important security blanket for a child is the assurance of contented parents, grandparents and extended family relationships.

7. Spare the rod and spoil the child. Terribly old-fashioned idea. It is important to believe in one’s child. Mistakes will happen, attack the issues, not the individual. Parenting is a nonstop merry go round of comparison, guilt and judgement. The child should never be made to feel the victim. Sometimes there might be some deep-seated psychological issues that need delving into.

Someone wrote, “as parents we need to take three deep breaths, rewind and press play again.” That’s the way the cookie crumbles!

One of the best gifts that any parent has in their power to bestow to their children is a happy childhood.
Here is a prayer of an 8-year old. As parents we need to take heed to what the child says…

Dear God let me have a mum and Dad who are with me, by me, for me and who love me for who I am.
Thank you God.

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