Anybody can — but not everybody will — be a good parent
What does it take to be a good parent? This is a question almost every mother and father should asks themselves when blessed with having children. Therein lies the problem, this is a question that every parent should ask, but they don’t.
Parenting styles vary and have evolved with the species and styles in one part of the world are different then they are in others, but I think that there are a few common traits that connect them all.
Be there! How hard is that? You have children — be there for them. It doesn’t matter if it’s a preschool recital or it’s a playoff baseball game — be there.
I try hard not to miss something that my kids are doing; if it is important to them it is important to me. Now, mind you, this is hardly ever true in the reverse, but it’s about them, not me, right?
Kids need structure, routine is good to an extent, but they will also enjoy a change in pace. Sometimes it is as simple as brushing their teeth, getting in a routine of doing one thing translates into doing others.
A sense of security is important. I can’t say much about that because I believe that part of that is having a stable place for a home and I move way too much.
I think parents should be involved with what the kids are doing. As they get older and develop a social life, it gets crazy. Get to know the kids they are hanging out with and better yet, get to know their parents.
An open line of communication with other parents scares them. I do believe that there is a healthy amount of fear that needs to be instilled, if for nothing other than their protection.
Coming from a generation where is was OK to stand in the middle of the front seat while driving down the road, or better yet, by a pack a smokes with a note, I do believe that completely sheltering a child is asking for trouble.
The world is not such a good place sometimes and, of course, we don’t want to dump a pile of doom and gloom on our kids, but in small doses it better prepares them for the future.
Growing up in Camden, everybody’s parents knew who each kid belonged to and on many occasions I came home to upset parental unit who had received a phone call. It’s kind of funny that news of my mischief traveled just as fast 30 years ago as it would today.
Looking back, I am glad to have had those extra eyes to keep me honest and I’m sure my parents were to. The old saying about it taking a village to raise a child was never truer than it was here.
I have been a yeller in the past and, honestly, it doesn’t work with my kids. Discipline is a slippery slope and I have never been an advocate of the physical. I try to speak to their level and get them to understand the consequences of their actions.
If that doesn’t work then I do it again. I think listening to me blab on about “if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime” and “how would you like if is someone did that to you” is enough punishment. I mean obviously the punishment suits the crime, but from what I’ve seen, being involved in your kid’s life solves a lot of the trouble before it begins.
I try — albeit impossible sometimes — to keep the lines of communication open with the kids too. When they were younger it was easy, five years of questions and answers, followed by five years of “but daddy you said...”
I want my children to come ask me the tough questions; the question is: am I ready to answer them. As I remember it, I learned the answers to most of those questions from my buddies at recess, not my parents.
Now that they are older, I am taken back to what it was like for me at that age. What did I know about life and how did I learn it? Life experience mostly, but it was the solid foundation built by two strong parents who made every effort to be good parents.
Dwight Collins is a reporter for Camden Herald.