Good parenting is really just a series of habits based on a mindset that what you are doing is not an event, a strategy, a solution, it is a process of many habits, many conversations, many ups and down, many mistakes and many lessons learned from them.
Good parenting is only good, not because the parents are perfect, not because they have a foolproof parenting strategy, but because they are focused on being a person they want their children to become.
Try on these good parenting habits; they will not guarantee that your kids won’t make good choices or that your life turns out as you’d like, but they will help you rest in the fact that you’ve been a “good parent” and that you have thoroughly invested in your kids.
Establish Core Values
Giving your family core values will give them something to turn to for making decisions. It will give your kids a compass when you’re not around to guide them. (If you need help figuring out your family’s core values, I’m happy to help.)
Laugh A Lot
Silliness is the secret ingredient in a happy family. Even if you’re naturally a “silly” person, you can choose to let your hair down, choose to let yourself laugh.
Parent Your Child’s Heart
Many parents get caught up in the endeavor to change their child’s behavior, and that may work–temporarily. But if you really want to change your child’s behavior for the long term, you must focus on parenting their heart. What’s the reason for the behavior? What values do they need to learn to know how to change their own behavior?
Listen A Lot
Parents are really good at speaking, at trying to fix their children with their words, at using their words to attempt to control and manipulate behavior. Of course, there is a time to speak, but more often than that, there is a time to listen, really listen, to what your kids are saying and what they’re not saying. This may require you to work on the skill of biting your tongue.
Ask Good Questions
Good questions go hand-in-hand with good listening. I’m not talking about interrogating your kids, I’m talking about asking open-ended questions that give your child room to express their thoughts and push them to think out loud. These kinds of questions don’t have one-word answers.
Focus On Your Own Heart
Pay attention to your own values and how you are living them out as a parent. Examine yourself every now and then. Think about who you are and what you are trying to become. Get help when you need it. There’s no shame in asking for guidance or direction in your parenting. You cannot hope to raise kids with good hearts if you are not working on your own.
Respond, Don’t React
The difference between responding and reacting is anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes or even an hour. Taking the time to respond, rather than react allows you to think through what’s most important for your child to learn and how you can help them learn it.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
So you make mistakes, lose your temper, forget something important–you’re human! Don’t beat yourself up. Good parents understand that mistakes are part of growing.
Admit and Learn From Mistakes
When you do make mistakes, it’s important that you do more than acknowledge them. Take a few minutes to think about what you learned from the error–what you did wrong, and what you could do better next time.
Find The Treasure…Every Day
It’s easy for busy parents to get caught up in the chaos of life and neglect to see the treasures in each day. Your child’s laughter, their joy at an accomplishment, an encouraging word from a friend, your child’s hug–these are the things that are most precious in life. Don’t neglect the daily treasures that come each day.
In his book Parenting, David Paul Trip asks the question: What is your calling as a parent?
In the midst of folding laundry, coordinating carpool schedules, and breaking up fights, many parents get lost. Feeling pressured to do everything “right”, and raise up “good” children, it’s easy to lose sight of our ultimate purpose as parents in the quest for practical tips and guaranteed formulas.
Our quest is not to be seen as good parents, or to have perfectly behaved kids; it’s to raise kids with good hearts that will make a positive impact in their world. These habits I’ve listed are more than just 10 things on a to-do list; they will lead you to a mindset shift in your parenting that will make a difference in who your kids become.
If you’d like help with establishing these habits in your parenting, I’m a family and parenting coach and can help. Schedule a free introductory call here.