As a former teacher, I’ve often seen parents doubt themselves.
They want the best for their children, but societal judgment, especially online, can make them feel like they are failing at parenthood…
The funny thing is, these parents are usually doing the best job!
So, if you or someone you know has similar doubts, this article will clear up any worries. Here are 10 things great parents do every day without realizing it:
1) They model healthy behaviors
Children learn best by example.
And parents who adopt and openly express healthy behaviors in their everyday lives are instilling these skills in their children, without even realizing it.
So, what do I mean by healthy behaviors?
- Communicating respectfully
- Setting healthy boundaries
- Fostering loving and kind relationships
- Eating, sleeping, and exercising well
- Taking care of mental health
The list could go on, but you get what I mean.
Parents who live a healthy, authentic lifestyle are, by default, teaching their children to do the same.
2) They foster independence
Ever heard of the term, “helicopter parenting”?
This is a style of parenting where the child’s life is heavily monitored by their parents.
But, while such parents usually mean well, they fail to recognize that they’re stripping their children of independence.
And the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them.
On the other hand, great parents know the importance of letting their children figure out things for themselves, of having good and bad experiences and learning from them.
I often notice how much a child’s confidence increases when they’re given the chance to make their own decisions – in a restaurant for example.
Just the simple act of letting your child choose their own meal and order it when the waiter comes is a great learning experience, rather than dictating what they can eat and then ordering for them (depending on their age, of course).
3) They make time for play
Another thing great parents do every day without realizing it is play with their children…
Yes – it’s super important!
Children learn a lot through play. But it’s also a fantastic way to bond.
When you, as a parent, get involved in their games, you create memories that they’ll look back on forever.
You see, parenting isn’t just about setting strict routines or making sure they do their homework.
It’s crucial for their development to spend time having fun with their family and being…well…kids!
So if you, or someone you know, make time to join in on the fun and encourage children to be creative, you’re doing a good job!
And your kids will certainly remember and thank you for this when they’re older.
4) They provide consistent discipline
But even through play, some form of discipline is necessary.
And great parents know that their children need consistency when it comes to teaching them right from wrong.
But this isn’t about being extremely strict or harsh.
Discipline is about teaching children that there are consequences for their actions.
If done in a respectful but firm manner, parents have a better chance of getting through to their children without losing their respect.
But from my experience, it’s important to note that it’s not a one-size-fits-all when it comes to kids.
Great parents will take the time to observe their children and figure out the best way to educate them. This takes time and consistent effort but is so worth doing.
5) They show resilience
As a parent, you have a little person constantly watching you and learning from your reactions.
So, if you lose your job and have a complete meltdown, refuse to apply for jobs, and blame the rest of the world for your bad luck, your kids will absorb this and likely imitate this mindset.
On the other hand, if you share how you feel (it’s totally okay to say, “Mommy or daddy is going through a tough time right now”) but you get back out there, you’re teaching your children the importance of having a resilient mindset.
Then, the next time they fail a test at school or fall out with a friend, they’re more likely to dust themselves off and try again.
As one little girl so sweetly explained to me one day in class after failing to build her rocket properly, “My dad says it’s okay if it doesn’t work. We’ll try again and make an even better one!”
6) They share their emotions
As I mentioned in the last point, sharing your emotions with your children is another thing great parents do without realizing it.
The truth is, emotional regulation isn’t easy for young children. They don’t always understand why they feel angry, sad, or frustrated.
That’s why it’s up to parents to help their children identify their emotions and work out the root causes of why they feel that way.
I remember when teaching 8-year-olds, children whose parents discussed emotions and appropriately shared their own feelings often demonstrated superior emotional articulation and management.
On the other hand, those who had parents who were closed off tended to struggle to control their emotions, let alone identify them.
7) They support their dreams
When your kids grow up, there are many aspects of their childhood they’ll forget.
But their parents believing in them and encouraging them to chase their dreams will stay with them forever.
So, even if you or someone you know feels like they can’t take their kids on amazing holidays, or be the “perfect” parent (whatever that is), know that if you’re always on their side, you’re doing a great job!
Because the truth is, the world is a tough place.
But when parents consistently reassure their children of their potential to achieve any goal they set, it fosters a significant boost in self-esteem and self-belief.
And this is invaluable!
8) They encourage curiosity
They spark an interest and curiosity in their children about the world around them…
Whether it’s reading a book, out in the park, or on a bus ride, they use any opportunity to help their little ones expand their minds and promote creativity.
The thing is, most parents do this without realizing it.
They don’t consciously think about it when they introduce their kids to new things, people, and experiences.
They do it because they want their child to grow up with a love for learning and a desire to know more about the world we live in.
Instead of stunting their worldview by putting them in front of the TV 24/7, they take them out to explore real life, and this is probably one of the best things you can do as a parent!
9) They maintain balance
But going on adventures and exploring isn’t all there is to parenting (as nice as it would be).
That’s why great parents also keep a good balance between all the areas that make up a child’s life.
From school work to learning responsibility through doing house chores, to playing and socializing, these parents work hard to make sure their children have a well-rounded lifestyle.
And trust me, that isn’t easy!
It takes organization, willpower, and perseverance to fit everything in.
But ultimately, this hard work ensures that children get to engage in a diverse range of activities while learning valuable life skills.
10) They express love and affection
And finally, great parents show their children how much they love them.
We often hear of older generations struggling to be openly affectionate – they showed love in different ways, through working hard, providing opportunities, and creating a better life for their children than they had.
But studies have shown how verbally and physically expressing love and affection can help form healthy attachments in young children.
So, if a parent takes the time to cuddle their little one, tell them, “I love you” and reassure their child that they’re valued and cared for, they’re doing a great job!
Even if it feels like something “normal” that everyone does, it’s important (and sad) to remember that not all parents do this. Some may struggle due to their own upbringing, for example.
But ultimately, children need this to feel safe and secure. And this will stay with them into adulthood, affecting their future relationships.
So, we’ve covered 10 things great parents do every day without realizing it…If you didn’t tick every box on this list, that’s okay!
There’s no manual when it comes to parenting. All anyone can do is keep educating themselves and doing better when they recognize an area that needs improvement.
Keep going and remember – the best parent is one who is present and there for their child.
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