I'm of the mindset that parenting is an art form. It's a talent that not everyone develops. It's something that you get better at the longer you do it, as long as you learn from your mistakes. And good or bad, I think that you tend to emulate the role models you had as a child.
Parenting is the art of balancing dichotomies. You have to be everything to your child - the Disciplinarian, Nurturer, Friend, Coach, Listener, Lecturer, Motivator, Educator, Snuggler - all wrapped up into one parental ball.
Due to recent circumstance in my life, I've become increasingly aware of common traits and actions shared by good parents, as well as those shared by those I would classify as "non-parents." There are some very distinct differences between the two.
As I mentioned in a previous blog post, the fact that your egg or sperm became a baby DOES NOT make you a parent. You become a parent by working at it, learning from it and growing with your child(ren). And as far as I'm concerned, there are concrete lists of "Dos" and "Don'ts" that parents should follow in order to be most effective.
Good parents do...
- Set realistic rules and expectations for their kids
- Talk to their kids
- Kiss their kids' ouchies
- Praise their kids
- Help their kids with homework
- Read to their kids
- Talk to their kids' teachers, advisers and school counselors
- Cuddle their kids
- Make time for themselves
- Provide their kids with new experiences
- Allow their kids freedom to be themselves
- Punish their kids when necessary
- Make time for their significant other
- Trust their kids
- Notice as their kids mature
- Respect their kids
- Follow through on their promises
- Teach their kids to be responsible
- Financially support their kids (until they can start to support themselves)
Good parents DON'T....
- Ignore their kids
- Treat their kids like peers
- Deceive their kids (except when necessary to keep something a surprise!)
- Expose their kids to negativity
- Force their kids to grow up too fast
- Smother their kids
- Speak negatively about their kids
- Invade their kids' privacy
- Make promises to their kids they don't intend to keep
- Let their kids quit when the going gets tough
- Belittle their kids
My husband and I were both very lucky to have good parents. And we strive every day to be the good parents to our four kids that we know we can be. Does that mean we're always perfect? HELL no. But it does mean we try to live by the "Do" list at all times.
What things would you add to my lists of parental "Dos" or "Don'ts"?