All parents ask themselves: I don’t want to fail my kids, how do I know I am a “good” parent? No parent will do everything well, and that’s OK. Focus on what you are doing well instead of where you think you are failing. If you are a parent who does each of these nine things listed below, you get a gold star. As for me, and most likely a lot of other parents, I do not excel at every one of these, and that’s OK!
- I meet my child’s needs. My children have food to eat and a place to sleep, and they are loved. As basic as this sounds, providing these necessities helps me know that my children’s basic needs for childhood development are being met.
- I help my child. It can be overwhelming when my child comes home with a project and needs to be able to name all the periodic elements or write an essay on the deepest lake in Guam. I know little about these topics, but I am there to help him through it. It can be overwhelming for my child, so I play it cool and learn something along with him.
- I am present. I am in the school gymnasium for my child’s award for perfect attendance, at the soccer field for the soccer participant award and will be there to see him receive his Ph.D. I am present when I can be and proud of his accomplishments. My children will remember that I was present well into their adulthood and know I care.
- I provide routine. Since my children were young, we’ve had routine in their lives. I know children need structure and routine to thrive. I have provided structure in our home from an early age, which will help them transition to school with little disturbance. My children feel safe in their predictability at home.
- I am consistent. I am consistent and firm in the way I parent. I have realistic rules in our home and am able to enforce them. Being consistent from an early age helps my child feel secure.
- I am a parent, not a friend. My child will have many friends over the course of his life, and I am their mom. My children need me for the roles their friends cannot fill. I’m happy to be that person.
- I am involved. I know the people who are educating my children. I volunteer at their school and talk to their teachers. By being involved, I know what is happening in their world.
- I know my child’s friends. “Show me a child’s friends, and I will show you their future.” I find much truth in this statement. I help my children to be aware of who their friends are and what a positive influence can mean in their lives.
- I am not too hard on myself. I don’t have to be the June Cleaver of the 21st century. I look after myself and my children, and I can feel good about that.
Give yourself some credit and brag to us about what you are doing well as a parent.