Parenting is an ever-evolving journey, filled with countless joys, challenges, and uncertainties. It’s no small feat to give your children a fantastic start in life, all while dealing with the mess and chaos that come with them.
But amidst the chaos, there are some standout qualities that can make someone an incredible parent. As a teacher, I can say that I’ve become pretty much an expert in spotting the parents who are doing a great job.
In this article, I’ll share those qualities of parents who stand out from the rest. Let’s get started!
One of the first things I noticed early on in my journey as a teacher is that the best parents have a great deal of empathy.
They can put themselves in their child’s shoes so they can better understand how they feel. Remember, kids, especially the younger ones, are still learning to express themselves, much less label their feelings.
So, if you can validate how they feel, you can create a safe and nurturing environment for your child to express themselves without fear of judgment.
Trust me, even when your child grows up and moves away, they’ll still love to talk to you because you’ve proven yourself to be their safe space. That never gets old!
Patience goes hand in hand with empathy. It’s about more than just waiting for your child to tie their shoes or finish their dinner.
It’s also about recognizing that children develop at their own pace and that they will inevitably encounter difficulties along the way.
I’ve seen too many parents get frustrated when their kids don’t excel or when they fail. And it always saddens me to see children get so anxious and pressured as an effect of this.
But the patient ones? Oh, they’re a joy to work with. Not only do they have realistic expectations for their kids, but they’re also great models for dealing with stress!
Is your child a visual learner? Do they love soccer today and then hate it tomorrow? Are they a picky eater?
These are just some examples of situations that call for flexibility. As a parent, you need to be able to adapt your approach to so many things – your child’s personality, unique needs, communication style, circumstances…the list goes on and on.
And if you’re pretty rigid, well, sorry to say, but you’re in for a world of stress. Self-inflicted stress, if I may add.
Incredible parents strike the perfect balance of having goals and being able to swerve when things get in the way of those goals. They let go of preconceived ideas about how things “should” be done and focus on what reality lies in front of them.
4) A sense of humor
Speaking of expectations vs reality, how do you deal when your reality seems light years away from your expectations?
Well, if you’re an incredible parent, you probably find the humor in it! You find the joy and amusement in the everyday challenges and idiosyncrasies of raising children.
Because let’s face it – if you have a meltdown whenever your toddler melts down, you won’t see the blessings in parenting. Humor makes everything easier. And more fun!
Plus, humor makes it easy to look past your child’s mistakes and forgive them.
That’s right – to be an incredible parent, you have to be able to forgive.
Look, your child will make mistakes. If you’ve got a picture-perfect vision that they’ll behave all the time, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
A forgiving spirit helps you focus not on the missteps, but on the lessons you and your child can learn from them.
Instead of getting angry and blaming them over and over, teach them to take responsibility for their actions. I always tell parents – don’t punish; teach. Show them the consequences of their actions.
Let’s say your child breaks a neighbor’s window while playing outside. Instead of just grounding them or yelling at them, discuss the consequences instead. Show them the effects of their actions:
- The cost of repairing the window
- The inconvenience it causes the neighbor
- The need for a plan to apologize and make amends
- The need to reflect on their actions
That way, they can actually learn from their mistakes instead of simply learning to be afraid of you.
Another quality incredible parents have is open-mindedness. That’s not as easy as it sounds, though.
Here’s the deal: we’re all products of our parents’ child-rearing styles. We’ve been brought up in certain ways, which are likely the ways we will bring up our kids, too.
But there’s no cookie-cutter approach to parenting. Every child is different. The way you were brought up might not be the best approach that works for them. In fact, even with siblings, you might have to tailor your approach differently for each one.
So to be the best parent for the child you have, you need to be willing to consider new ideas, perspectives, and approaches.
This could involve exploring alternative parenting techniques, being open to different educational philosophies, or simply being receptive to your child’s unique interests and passions.
7) Effective communication
Speaking of tailor-made approaches, communication is one of those areas you might need to tweak to be able to respond to your child’s needs best.
Many parents think that their word is the law. To some extent, that’s true. You do need to be firm to guide them properly.
But effective communication is a two-way street. It’s always worth listening to your child’s input. Remember, they have a voice, too.
Gone are the days when children should be seen and heard. Today, we know that children thrive when they can comfortably express themselves.
8) Quality time
Another thing that’s of absolute importance when parenting is spending quality time with your child.
Incredible parents know this, and they are fully present with their kids. They don’t just take their kids to and from school, or plop their child in front of a TV while they scroll on their phones.
No, they get down and play together – building towns with blocks, restaurant play, board games, throwing balls back and forth…the point is, the interactions are meaningful.
So, their kids grow up with a strong family bond, sweet memories, and gratitude for being so loved.
This is one of my cardinal rules, both in teaching and parenting my own kids. When I say something, I have to be consistent about it.
Kids will challenge you in every way they can. They won’t want to go to bed early or eat their veggies. They might talk back to you rudely or throw a tantrum when they don’t get what they want.
But the truth is, they need structure in their days. They need discipline and consistent routines to feel safe and stable.
So whatever the rules you’ve established in your home are, you’ve got to be consistent. You can’t be saying one thing today and a different thing tomorrow.
Having said that, I must emphasize the importance of teamwork in being consistent.
Ever experienced this? You tell your child they can’t have candies before dinner, but then your partner secretly gives them one.
That’s so frustrating and counterproductive. Because it disrupts consistency.
The truth is, parenting is not a solo endeavor – it’s a shared responsibility. Even if you’re a single mom or dad, you likely have a support system made up of friends and extended family.
So everyone needs to be clear about your parenting approach and cooperate with that, whether or not they agree with it.
That way, your child won’t be confused and become hard to handle.
Do you celebrate your child’s accomplishments, whether big or small? Do you offer support when they need it?
Research shows that parental encouragement pays off in huge ways. At its core, it’s positive reinforcement – you’re telling your child they’re good at something and that every victory is worth celebrating.
Kids of parents who provide encouragement and emotional support grow up with a stronger sense of self-motivation and self-esteem. Those are two ingredients that set them up for future success!
Lastly, incredible parents take care of themselves. They have hobbies and socialize with friends, they exercise and know how to unwind. It might sound selfish, but the old saying is true, you can’t give what you don’t have.
And if you’re raising a child, your cup always needs to be filled. They rely on you for so much!
So when I see parents taking time out to recharge, I always think, “That’s a good parent right there!”
Being an incredible parent isn’t about having all the answers or raising the perfect child. As you can see, it’s all about operating from a place of love (that includes tough love) and grace to be able to respond to your child’s needs.
It’s about seeing parenting not as a burdensome task, but as an adventure packed with laughter, lessons, and love!