Being a Successful Parent

Defining a successful parent can mean so many things that it is just about impossible to offer any guidance.  It starts with some of the distinct tasks of paying attention to the child’s needs, ensuring that they have what they need as they move through the various developmental stages and offering your attention to them.  The National Academy of Sciences offers four significant responsibilities that are worth checking on.

The first is maintaining the child’s health and safety.  In the very early years, this is a regular job that requires your eyes 24/7, but as they develop it changes.  Still, I find as a school administrator that as kids grow, parents pay less and less attention to the health and safety parts.  They grow weary of the conflicts and begin to gloss over them with generalized statements like, “Just ignore him, or tell your teacher.”  Although these can offer useful guidance at times, other times, a more in-depth follow-up is required.  Their second item is promoting their emotional well-being. So often as kids grow and move into middle school, parents begin to get out of touch with this part of parenting.  Make time to sit down regularly with your child and talk, do some empathic listening and get them to do most of the talking without offering advice.  Listen precisely without providing any help and rather than giving that advice, ask them, “What are you going to do?”  or “What is your plan to deal with this?”

The third responsibility is to instilling social skills.  It seems like this shouldn’t even come up, but today it is more important than ever.  Social skills installation not only means teaching the basics of etiquette but also includes social media skills as well.  It involves teaching a balance to kids and paying attention to how they process conflicts.  The fourth responsibility is preparing kids intellectually.  The previous post comes to mind as I have seen parents overdo this, and many parents underdo it.  My take on this is that it involves continually offering challenges to your child in terms of reading intellectual material, supervised homework time, checking on what music and videos they are watching.  What video games are they playing and what is the overall message from them.  When started early, the kids come to accept some limitations and restrictions and move to develop into an uncommon demeanor when compared to other kids.

Psychology Today offers four C’s when parenting,  care, consistency, choices, and consequences.  As you move through the day, repeat those to yourself when you’re working with your child, I think that you will find they make an enormous difference.

Yours for Better Parenting,