A good parent…
You can’t be a good parent and not be there. I’m sorry for those of you that are on the road, but this parenting thing is hard. You can’t do it if you aren’t there.
But worse than being away from the kids is being there and not being there. TV, cell phones and video games are just a few of the distractions from that all important task of being a good parent.
So what does this being there mean? Your kids need your attention. So talk to them, touch them, hug them, look into their eyes, read to them, sing with them, play with them and just be yourself with them. In the end your kids will remember the time you spent with them and not anything else. Make memories with your kids by being present with them.
A Good Parent…
Is loving but firm.
This loving and being a disciplinarian thing is a tough place to be in. Parents are parents and they have to be and act like a parent. That means you have to be strict and have rules and expect them to be followed. The greatest thing you can do for your children is to be firm with them. We are seeing a generation of children that think they are entitled to, well just about everything. The greatest word your kids can hear from you is “No”.
But that “no” should be covered in the love that comes from your heart.
I know that your cute little child will come up to you and bat those beautiful eyes and expect you to cave in. It is a tough place to be in but be firm.
Of course there is a balance that must be maintained. Each of your kids needs to be treated differently and you are the judge of how you should be firm and flexible with each of your children. Remember your are raising this little ones to survive in a scary world that will treat them harshly if you don’t help them deal with it before they get out there on their own
Love them but be firm in the way you train them up.
A Good Parent…
Is willing to ask for help.
Notice I didn’t say cry for help. I mean ask for help and ask when you need it. Parents too often try to do this parenting thing on their own and don’t expect or ask for advice. There is a world of help out there and there are people willing to help you through the tough times. Parenting goes through a lot of tough times.
There are people other parents who have dealt with whatever you’re facing and many of them have survived. Ask them model your parenting skills after them, but ask them for advice and help.
Look to your family, your friends, your pastor, your kids teachers and when necessary a doctor, pediatrician and therapists that work with children.
Don’t try to go it alone. It truly does take a village to raise a child and there are people out there willing to help and encourage you along the way.
A Good Parent …
Is the grownup not a friend.
This is a big one. Who is the grownup in this parenting thing you’re involved in? The answer better be and stay you.
Too many times I have seen a mother (usually it’s Mom) say something like this. “My Suzy is my best friend” or “The kids and I are best buddies”.
It all sounds so cute and adorable but somebody has to wear the big boy pants and lay down the law and set standards and rules. A parent has to be the bad guy sometimes. We set rules, dole out consequences and sometimes are not liked by our kiddos.
It is difficult to tell your best friend to take out the trash or they have to be by ten. The parents are the ones with the wisdom and knowledge that they impart to their children. Part of the wisdom and knowledge is teaching your kids how to be a grown up. Grownups are not kids. You guessed it kids are not grownups.
Even when your kids are tall enough to look you in the eye and have hair on their chins they are still your kids. The dynamic changes but you are still Mom and Dad.
Be the grown up and all that comes with it, be a parent.
A good parent…
Loves without conditions.
You know as well as I do we live in a give and take world. I’ll do this if you do that. This parenting thing can never be that way. Your love for your child can not have conditions. You must love them always. Let me repeat that, you must love them always. Love them all the time despite what may come. Not that is not to say you have to like what they do all of the time. Kids will be kids and that does not jive with what needs to go on in your household. This ride you are on called “family” has a lot of bumps and sharp turns. The best way to endure is to love the ride and hold up your arms and scream as the roller coaster goes down another incline.
Parenting can bring great joy and heart rending sorrows. There are few guarantees. Thank God for the privilege of being a parent and love every minute of it.
A good parent…
The hardest thing to do as a parent is to be consistent. You have to have a plan and you have to the best of your ability stick to it. So that means you need to know what you’re going to do now and in the future. How are you going to deal with your children’s friends and their parents? What about dating? How about bedtime and sleepovers? You don’t have to have this all in writing but you as parents have got to be together philosophically and yes spiritually. The kids God love em’ know who is the weak link and will lovingly exploit that parent.
Understand this children need and really do crave stability. They may complain about it and rebel against it but they really want it. Try telling your teen they have to go to bed and you will understand. By being consistent in your rules and family plans you will provide that solid ground for them to grow and flourish.
So this means being consistent for them but it also means you have to be consistent in your own daily lives. It can’t be a “Do what I say not what I do world”.
A Good parent …
Has a plan.
A good parent has a plan. At least they should have.
Now I’ll give you an “oops we’re pregnant”. I have two children that way. Having the kids might not have been part of the immediate plan. But children were always part of the plan. They were weren’t they?
Being a parent and becoming a parent are all part of a plan, your plan and God’s plan.
Growing up and becoming mature individuals doesn’t just happen. You as a parent have to be a dynamic part of this nurturing process. You have to make decisions, change behaviors and schedules to meet the needs of your young growing kiddos.
You have to make choices about bedtimes and homework and what you need to nourish your children emotionally, spiritually as well as nutritionally. You want the best for your kids so make plans.
Yes stuff happens that you never planned for but you have to have the basic down with a plan put into effect for the stuff you can expect. Moms are good at this that’s why they carry big purses. So where are the emergency phone numbers? Where are the bandaids? What’s the plan when Junior wants to get his driver’s license? What happens when sally wants to date?
Parents have a plan what is yours?
A good parent…
Takes care of the kid’s needs, they know their kid’s needs.
This business of being a parent is an intimate touchy feely thing. You get to know that little guy and gal as if you knew yourself. You know their personality their wants and desires. You hope for them, pray for them and dream for them.
You understand their baby talk long before the rest of the world does. You can hear their cry out of all the kids at the playground. You can pick their favorite story to read and sing their favorite song. You know your kid.
This knowing comes at a cost though. The cost is giving up your own rights in the place of your children. It means getting out of bed to check on them in the night even though you are dog tired. It means turning off the TV, cell phone, video game or whatever when they call.
A good parent knows his kids and takes care of their needs.
A good parent…
Celebrates success and doesn’t hold on to mistakes.
This parenting thing is all about ups and downs. One minute you so excited that you’re little one is taking their first step. Then the next thing you know they are mobile and knocking things off all the shelves. You love that they start talking but are crazy when they won’t stop. You like that they love to color but not on the walls.
We as humans have a tendency toward remembering the bad stuff and forgetting the good. Hold on to the good that children do. Revel in all of their accomplishments and victories. Remember them and repeat them to your kids as they grow. They are good because you are good and above all God created them good. Check what God said in Genesis chapters one and two. Your kids need to be reminded of the good they have brought into the world by just being who they are. You know and I know that the rest of the world is a mean and nasty place and family might be the only place they here about the good.
Sure they will make mistakes. But don’t we all? Love them and nurture them with good positive reinforcements and celebrate their successes.
A good parent…
Is not afraid to make mistakes and move on.
It may sound strange to acknowledge that parents make mistakes but they do. I have four grown kids and they managed to live through my many mistakes and pratfalls. None of my mistakes were life threatening and I hope most of the mistakes were well intentioned. I really did think my kids would love the zucchini casserole. Now it is part of my fatherhood legend.
Despite what we do as parents our kids will grow up. The problem is that we can fear moving ahead and growing through the excitement and trepidation of raising the kids.
Understand that you are going to make mistakes but if your intentions were for good then move on. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge you made an error and do what is necessary to rectify the problem That even means letting your kids know that you are not the “all and powerful Wizard of Oz”. Parents are humans that don’t do everything the right way all the time. Sometimes that is so hard to admit especially in front of the kiddos.
What better example can it be to your children growing up than to see an adult fall down and then get up and move on.
Don’t make a habit of failing. Do your best always. What more can your children ask from a loving parent.