Qualities of Good Parents

The child’s experience and perception of the world is shaped by the dynamics created from the qualities of each individual parent, both parents as a unit, and the family norms that result. It is important for parents to be intentional about the qualities they want to emphasize so the child see’s a positive model for behavior.

As parents, we seek to embody the characteristics we wish to instill in our children. To do so, it is best to be intentional with our actions, words, and deeds.

This list of qualities of good parents should serve as a compass to help accomplish that goal.

What are the qualities of good parents? The qualities of good parents that are most impactful are; loving disposition, desire to connect, settled nature, patience, open ears, vision, high expectations, respect for individuality, personal responsibility, and self-care.

Loving Disposition

From birth, children are wired to pick up on what is going on around them. They learn from everything they are exposed to.

Parents need to be aware of the qualities they exhibit and how they impact the child’s daily experience because it is through their experience that their personalities will develop.

There is nothing more important a parent can do than demonstrate love to their child.

The love a child feels from their parents will form the foundation of their ability to form bonds with others and will be a key contributor to the child’s social and emotional development.

Parents seeking to exhibit this behavior should consider how their actions communicate love and compassion to their child.

We have opportunities every day to show these qualities to our kids, from how we show kindness to others outside of the home to how we show grace to family members in our home.

You can start by simply working to find some of these opportunities in your life so that your child can experience your love and empathy through how you treat people.

Desire to Connect

A connection is an incredibly powerful tool in developing a positive relationship with your children.

A parent’s appreciation for it and the ability to do it is an invaluable quality that will help produce a lifetime of meaning for the entire family.

It is not easy to develop a deep authentic connection, but once you do you will have laid one of the cornerstones of a lifelong bond with your child.

The benefits for the family abound. A child who feels connected to their parents is more likely to share their problems with them, enabling the parents to provide guidance when it is needed most.

They are also more likely to follow the example set by the parents, and less likely to seek peers as models for appropriate behavior.

Parents who wish to grow a deeper connection with their child could begin by simply listening to their kids more.

When kids feel like they are listened to they develop trust in their parents to discuss more personal topics. They could also try to spend more time simply being there.

Kids who feel connected to their parents and their homes don’t necessarily need to be entertained all the time.

They are content simply being safe and relaxed in their home with their family.

Settled Nature

The role of the parent is more stressful today than at any time in history.

Parents are expected to be with their kids providing constant supervision 24/7 well into their teenage years. That makes this quality all that much more important.

Parents who have a settling effect on their kids help them to feel safe and may have an easier time developing a connection with them.

Although we live stressed lives it is important to try our best to check the anxiety at the door.

It can and does deeply impact the emotional well-being of our children.

When our kids feel anxiety frequently they are more likely to develop it themselves, creating a trend in the family that becomes that much harder to break in the long run.

Parents who wish to create a settled and calm feeling in the home can try starting out by trying ideas that emphasize enjoying time with the family.

This could be limiting technology to certain rooms in the house (like no-phone zones), keeping your home clutter-free, play background music that the family will enjoy, build predictable systems (so the family can get into a rhythm and the kids know what to do and when to do it), and make family the most important thing (show it through your actions and time spent with each other).

Patience

Every parent will have moments in their lives where they wish they could have held it together just a bit longer.

Nobody wants to yell at their kids, but sometimes we do. It turns out yelling at children may be worse for their emotional well-being than initially thought.

All the more reason to remain cool, calm, and collected during moments in which we are being tested.

When we are able to remain calm we are modeling the behavior that we want our kids to emulate when they are in a challenging situation.

Parents who want to try to grow their ability to be more patient can first try to slow things down.

It may seem that if your child doesn’t do what you want them to do in that moment that they are being defiant, but that is often not the case.

The child’s brain simply does not process information as quickly or accurately as an adult. Sometimes they just need a little time or practice for it to click.

Remember, they are probably experiencing most (or all) of the emotions that you are in that moment, except they do not have the tools to process them or deal with them.

If the kid doesn’t get it right the first time, figure out a way to give them more opportunities to figure it out.

Those who are well-adjusted have often had time to practice through the guidance of a loving hand.

Open Ears

If you are looking for a quality that can have an immediate impact, this is the one. Kids love being heard.

They like to know that their voice matters, especially to the most significant adults in their lives.

When children feel like they have a voice that will be heard by a caring ear in a safe environment they may be encouraged to grow that relationship further in other areas.

Establishing yourself as an open ear to your child is not as easy as it may sound, but it can be very valuable to your relationship.

Look for chances to talk about what is on their mind, beyond the typical “how was school today?” conversation.

As you do, show that you are being thoughtful about how you listen and the child will pick up on the respect that you are giving them.

You will learn a lot about your child, and they will probably surprise you with how much they understand and can figure out on their own.

Don’t always try to solve their problems for them.

Instead, show them that you can be an outlet for their thoughts and you can give them a safe place to express their feelings without having to worry about saying the wrong thing.

When they open up to you and you truly understand where they are coming from, then you will be better suited to guide them to a resolution.

Vision

Parents who know where they are going with their family are way more likely to get there.

Although that seems like an obvious statement, more families than you think go through their lives without a clear vision for the kind of family they want to be and how they will become that family.

When you understand what you want your family to become and how you want to guide your children into becoming self-sufficient contributing members to society, you can begin to establish landmarks for what that path will look like along the way.

Although you don’t have to create a formal vision statement to be successful in this area, it can be a really helpful tool.

Whether you do or you don’t, you want to make sure that you have a clear understanding of your answers to the following questions:

  • What is my vision as a parent?
  • What is my spouse’s vision as a parent?
  • What is our shared vision?
  • What do we want for our kids (character, achievement, relationship)?
  • What steps do we need to take to get there?

As you work through each one of these questions you will find opportunities for growth.

Take them seriously. Kids feed off of structure and can sense when the ship has a destination or when it is just drifting.

Although adults are equipped to deal with things drifting sometimes (and may prefer it), kids are not built that way.

In order for them to be able to understand the world around them, they need structures and systems to make sense of it all.

High Expectations

Children thrive off of structure, mostly the positive and inspirational variety.

There are few greater motivators to a kid than to know that their parents believe in them and expect them to achieve at a high level.

Of course, this all must be put into perspective around the child’s age and ability.

The goal here is to push them and stretch them a bit, not to put them in a position where they feel inadequate because they tried to reach a goal they were not ready for.

It may be easier than you think to challenge your child to do a little more. If the goal is academic start with a class they like and set a goal a few points higher than where they currently are.

Don’t push them to jump full letter grades unless you know they are really ready for it, this is just as much about building confidence as it is an actual achievement.

Perhaps the goal is athletic, maybe they are a swimmer. Don’t push them to beat the kid next to them, challenge them to beat their own time.

As they get better and better, they will move past their peers as a natural result of putting in the time and hard work to succeed.

Respect for Individuality

This one may sound like it’s just for the older kids, but it’s not.

It is important to allow a child to develop an individual identity from an early age, as it will foster in them an ability to think for themselves and evaluate situations as they are related to their needs.

Kids who start to figure out who they are can better cope with the world around them because they understand how the information they take in relates to who they are and what is important to them.

Seeing that deep personal growth and independence can sometimes be hard for a parent to see, but it is what we all should want for our children.

Parents seeking to develop their ability to respect their child’s individuality and give them the freedom to grow it may start by dreaming with them.

Listening to their stories can be a great way to bond, build trust, and let them know that it is OK to be who they are.

They will become more comfortable sharing their ideas with you and will be more open to considering your feedback as you become a better listener and get a better feel for where they are mentally and emotionally.

This approach can also give you insight into how they see the world around them, as a child’s imagination is sometimes an indicator of real-world issues that are on their mind.

Personal Responsibility

Personal responsibility in the home should start at a very young age and grow gradually with the child over the years.

Toddlers who can get their own water or clean off the table are empowered to take on more responsibility as they get older.

The message they receive is that they have to take care of things around the home just like everyone else and at a young age they are likely to be eager to do so.

Establishing a culture of responsibility sets norms for the family that will be beneficial for all well into the future.

Families who share responsibility also share a respect for the roles and tasks necessary to run a home effectively. Additionally, personal responsibility is a key indicator of lifetime success.

Personal responsibility can be developed in children very early. Parents can start by having their children clean up their play spaces or workspaces before moving on to the next activity.

Try to set up a routine with them so they know what their job is. We have had our kids clean off the table after dinner each night since they were little.

It’s a simple and relatively quick task, but it includes them in the dinner process and communicates to them that the meals that they enjoy require work.

Embracing that work is what allows us to share the joy of dinner with each other and will give them a greater appreciation for the meals we have together as they get older.

Self-Care

How you treat yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally will serve as a model to your children for how they will treat themselves.

It is important to bring a loving disposition to how you treat yourself, so they see how it is done right.

Let them see you taking care of yourself, respecting yourself, pursuing your dreams, and being compassionate to yourself.

Think about what you would want a close friend to say to you in a given situation and take that advice for yourself.

Consider that they are always watching and taking in information.

How you treat yourself will inform how they see themselves.

Related Questions

What Defines a Good Parent?

The single most important factor in defining good parenting is the love with which they approach interaction with their children.

Everything they do will serve as the primary model for how the child ultimately interacts with the world.

If the parent’s approach is loving and empathetic the child’s likely will be as well.

What Makes a Good Parent?

A good parent leads by example, not commands.

They share their view of the world with their child through their actions and take their responsibility as role models seriously by working their best every day to be a good example in all facets of life.

A good parent is patient and loving and resists urges that will break the connection they have with their child.

 

 

 

Dr. Patrick Capriola

Dr. Patrick Capriola is the founder of strategiesforparents.com. He is an expert in parenting, social-emotional development, academic growth, dropout prevention, educator professional development, and navigating the school system. He earned his Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Florida in 2014. His professional experience includes serving as a classroom teacher, a student behavior specialist, a school administrator, and an educational trainer - providing professional development to school administrators and teachers, helping them learn to meet the academic and social-emotional needs of students. He is focused on growing strategiesforparents.com into a leading source for high-quality research-based content to help parents work through the challenges of raising a family and progressing through the school system.

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