What is good parenting and how does someone become a good at being a parent? Anyone who has children will have asked themselves this question at some time, and it is perhaps especially important for singles, because they have to learn to fulfill two roles in the lives of their children.
Although this is a very complex subject, I would like to offer 2 simple methods you can apply to improve your skills in this area and become outstanding, even if you are single!
So exactly what is good parenting?
Being a good parent is far more than having a compliant, well-behaved child, but for many parents this appears to be the goal of their parenting. This is a very myopic view, and it is usually motivated by social concerns or a selfish desire on the part of the parent. It goes far beyond this and helps develop their character as they prepare them for adult life.
In years gone by many favored the use of harsh discipline with a child, and the goal was to produce a kid who was ‘seen and not heard’. I believe that this is a mistake, but many do this because they were subjected to this treatment themselves when they were young. Many adults also compare their seemingly well-behaved children with other kids who are misbehaving and it makes them feel better, but are those kids able to change their effective behaviour to ultimately make them successful in life?
Today many carry the scars of over discipline when they were young, and many are still haunted by the fact that they felt loved when they were obedient, but unloved if they made mistakes.
Some even go the other way, failing to apply any discipline or control over their children because they suffered at the hands of overbearing parents.
The thing is that good parenting starts with unconditional love, the type that does not change with whatever the child is doing or whatever rules are in play.
It is then backed up with firm and stable limits for the child, with unchanging and always applied consequences that they must learn if they step outside of the limits. In this way you can set limits for your children and protect them, and you can also guide the development of life skills they need… But consistency is the key! The consequences for disobedience must be explained to the child beforehand, and followed through with every single time until they learn that is it better for them to listen to you!
Yet no matter what mistakes they have made or what they have done, and no matter what the consequences for bad behavior, they must always know that they are loved unconditionally.
These are parental skills that you can offer your children, no matter how you were brought up yourself. You can offer them whether you are married or single, employed or staying at home.
So the simplest answer to the question what is good parenting is twofold, unconditional love and unrelenting consequences!