Characteristics of a Good Parent
The characteristics needed to be a good parent are many, but here are several that can help form the foundation for good parenting.
Respect - A good parent is respectful to their child, even when disciplining. Children first learn respectful behaviors from their parents and caregivers, so a child who is consistently treated respectfully by a parent is more likely to develop a healthy self-respect, and a respect for others, including their parent. Parents should keep in mind that it is possible to be respectful and firm at the same time.
Empathy - A good parent knows how to listen, more than talk. Sometimes, all a child needs is a listening ear, a safe place to talk things out, and for the parent to put themselves in the child's shoes, rather than jump in and fix his problems for him. A parent who is willing to tune into their child's words, tone of voice, and body language, will have a better chance of hearing what their child is really saying. Empathic listening sets the stage for open communication and can go a long way in strengthening the parent-child relationship.
Trust - A good parent takes advantage of opportunities to allow their child to make age-appropriate decisions, thereby, instilling a level of trust in the child's ability to do so. Entrusting a child to make certain choices is a great way to empower a child, and ultimately help a child learn how to become responsible. When parents try to control too many things in a child's life, it sends the message, "I don't trust you to make the right decisions, my way is better." Consequently, the more control a parents uses, the less cooperation they will get.
Leadership - A parent's main role in their child's life is to be a leader- someone the child can model, and learn from, but most importantly, someone who will keep them healthy and safe. Leadership in parenting requires being firm, when necessary, and a willingness to put rules in place, even when those rules are not readily accepted by the child. Parents, who are leaders, accept that there will be times when their child will not like them for putting certain limits in place, but they enforce them anyhow, knowing that it's their job to do what's best for their child.
Courage - It takes courage to be a good parent. The need for courage in parenting can show up in different ways, such as taking an unpopular stand to instill values, rules, and limits, even if it goes against what their child, or others may believe. At other times, courage may be needed to let go and allow a child to make certain choices and experience the consequences of such choices, so he can learn and grow. Courage is not reckless, nor is it the absence of fear; it's the willingness to try, and do what needs to be done, despite having fears.
Confidence - Parents who are confident don't have all the answers, but they are confident in their abilities to do the best they can. When they don't know the answer, they look for it. Rather than dwell on their own mistakes, confident parents are willing to admit them, learn from them, and make better choices in the future. They see problems as opportunities to learn and grow. As a result, they're in a better position to help their child develop self-confidence, as well.
Gratitude - Gratitude in parenting helps a parent appreciate their child as they are. Gratitude says, "I like who you are and who you are becoming." Gratitude helps parents become aware of, and help build on a child's strengths. A grateful parent focuses on and accepts the present moment, doesn't fret about past mistakes, or worry about the future. Gratitude in parenting helps parents become more approachable, and a positive influence in their child's life.
Understanding - Probably one of the hardest characteristics to develop in parenting, but the most needed, is the characteristic of understanding. Many times it can be hard for parents to deal with a child's misbehaviors, mostly because they don't understand them. One of the worst things a parent can do is take their child's misbehaviors personally. As part of their growth and development, children are going to misbehave and do things that go against the rules. Knowing this can help parents anticipate and redirect a child toward more positive and acceptable behaviors, and avoid a lot of unnecessary anger. Understanding can also lead to forgiveness.
Happiness - Happiness is not given to a chosen few; it's available to those who choose to make it a part of their everyday life. Many people wait for things, events, and other people to make them happy, but this is a mistake. Choosing to be happy is a choice we can all make because it comes from within. It's a reservoir that we can tap into whenever we choose. It's not designed to make problems go away, although, sometimes it may. Happiness can help us rise above our problems, and not just survive, but thrive, in spite of them. Plus, it just feels good to be happy. Parents who practice happiness have a greater chance of influencing their child's perception of happiness, and their attainment of it, as well. Most children are naturally happy and enjoy being around happy parents.