Recently I wrote a blog post about being a parent and this led to my pondering on the skills of being a parent that don’t just apply to our children, but to ourselves as well. If you have been fortunate enough to have had great parents then perhaps you learned how to parent yourself through example from them. However, if you perhaps are among those that did not have a strong, positive example of parenting in your own parents then learning to parent yourself may be a skill set that you will have to learn as part of your life journey.
I believe that there are some very specific qualities that make a good parent – I will try to list those that come to mind. A good parent will be kind, compassionate, loving and gracious in their interactions. They will be able to provide an atmosphere of encouragement for their family that is supportive and positive. They are supportive of each child’s specific talents and interests and helps in developing them. They will teach responsibility and be able to set reasonable expectations and boundaries. Their communication will be positive, friendly and caring even in moments when correction is necessary. They make time to spend with their children and give of themselves in a way that reinforces self-esteem. They will provide times for enjoyment and fun. They will ensure that their child is in a safe environment. They approach child rearing with some flexibility and a willingness to change if needed. A good parent is a teacher, a model, a mentor and an example of how to be a good person.
I know my list is incomplete – and being human every parent will fall short of any list at least some of the time. If you had reasonably good parents your need to learn how to be a good parent to yourself may only need to fill in a few gaps. However, if you had parents that truly had no concept of good parenting skills, the responsibility to find how to be a good parent to yourself will be an important part of your learning. To be the most successful in life embracing being a good self parent is vitally necessary.
The child who grows up with an absence of good parenting will become an adult who will have many gaps and imbalances in their self image, ability to love themselves and others, have self respect, value of self, ability to set boundaries, lack an understanding of their potential, may have unresolved emotional baggage, etc. As an adult of less than perfect parenting it becomes our responsibility to assume the role of being our own great parent. First, it is necessary to see, feel, know, recognize where healing is needed. This is usually visible in how we treat ourselves, speak to ourselves, our ability to feel love for ourselves and in the state of our emotions. If we find that we have arrived at this point in our adult lives and do not love ourselves, are unable treat ourselves with kindness, are unable to set appropriate boundaries, provide for our own safety, don’t speak positively about ourselves, cannot feel we are worthy of a bright future – then there is work to do in learning to be a good self parent.
No matter the circumstances of your family’s parenting style, there is no excuse for not becoming your own great parent. We each have the ability and obligation to overcome the shortfall in our parent’s, learn from it, heal it, become better for it and share this wisdom through our example with others.