Every parent wants to be a GOOD parent…

Everyone wants to be the best parent that they can. We want to give our offspring the best start in life; give them opportunities that we didn’t have; provide the chance to grow into the best person that they can be. We don’t want them to go without anything or struggle with hardships. Above all, we want them to grow up to be happy. We work very hard to make those things a reality and yet sometimes, it all becomes incredibly hard. We dream of happy families and sometimes it feels like we are living a nightmare. 

What we get…

Instead of children eager to learn, going off to school all clean and shiny, with their school bag and all their equipment slung across their backs, most often they are still half-dressed, their teeth are not washed and they haven’t done their homework – and the packed lunch is back at home in the fridge!

Instead of harmony and children playing, we get arguments and fighting. Instead of smiling faces, as we all enjoy bathtime and bedtime, we get sulks, tantrums and demands for another story. Instead of a peaceful evening after the children go to bed, we have numerous interruptions and pleas for more attention. 

How did it get like this? What we wanted to be lovely is turning out to be very hard indeed and stressful into the bargain! We keep trying harder and harder but it doesn’t get better. If anything it gets worse!

What would happen if we stopped trying so hard?

Being a ‘good parent’ is a label. We are trying to live up to something put together from ideas that we collected as we grew up. It is pretty much impossible to live up to that label, no matter how hard we try!

Instead of trying to live up to a fiction; how a good parent should be, we could try focusing on what helps us feel good as parents.

Try these seven useful steps to help:

  • Qualities and skills
    Make a list of what you think are important skills and qualities for young people. to learn.
  • Expectations
    Be clear about what you want and expect as a parent and leader of the family. If you are not clear, how can your children know what is acceptable?
  • Role Model
    What kind of role model do your children need, to help them learn those skills? Children are great imitators. Give them a good example, that matches up to your values – which means being clear on those values
  • Learning opportunities
    Children learn by doing and experiencing much more easily than being told something. What kinds of experiences and opportunities would help your children to learn the skills? How can you help them to develop the qualities you have identified? How can you provide those opportunities – without it costing a fortune?
  • Self Care
    Attend to your self-care needs as a priority. Make sure you are looking after yourself and your physical and mental health needs. This is vital for you and your parenting! It is also a very important role model example for your young people.
  • Being present
    Instead of doing something when the kids are quiet, take a few minutes to just ‘be with’ your child. Watch them play, listen to them talk about something. Show interest. Paying attention can be done in this way when it is not being demanded. This is quality time, just as much as doing activities. And it doesn’t have to be for hours!
  • Stop comparison
    Stop comparing yourself and your parenting to what your friend does; or what your neighbor does; or how your mum/dad/granny did it. Think about what you are doing today. Focus on this moment, and the goals and ideas you have for your own family.

And finally…

Take a moment, at the end of each day to reflect on these things. Pay attention to you and how you feel today. Acknowledge the things you have done that provide opportunities your children need to learn and grow.

    And breathe… How does that feel?