Try to develop these 7 characteristics of successful parents so that you nurture the unique specialness of your child.
1. Successful parents don’t expect perfection either from themselves or their children. Parenting is an art, not a science. Successful parents understand that, like themselves, their children aren’t perfect either. This frees them to love their children unreservedly.
2. Successful parents don’t fear occasional failures. They understand that mistakes are a normal, even healthy, part of parenting. They make the best decisions they can and when they’re wrong, they learn from their mistakes and try to do better the next time.
3. Successful parents don’t expect to have smooth sailing. Children have their own opinions, personalities and preferences. Inevitably, they cause us to say “Where did THAT come from” or “What WERE you thinking”? Our responsibility to provide them with limits and guidance will sometimes clash with their growing desire for independence. Successful parents aren’t surprised by them; they expect them. But successful parents understand that their responsibility to their children is not to always please them or make them happy – it’s to make the hard decisions that will be for their best in the long run.
4. Successful parents don’t go it alone. Successful parenting means trusting yourself, but not being a Lone Ranger. No one has the experience or answers to every parenting challenge. But each of us has some of the answers and, together, we’ve got them all. So successful parents aren’t reluctant to seek out the wisdom of others. They know that, at the end of the day, the decision is theirs, but before they get there, there is plenty of wisdom along the way waiting to help them.
5. Successful parents try harder. They face the same pressures we all do – demanding jobs, spouses and children who need them. But they live by this rule: “You get back what you put in.” They have a clear sense of priority for their family and are willing to put in the time to achieve it. They give more than the “average parent” so their children will be more than just “average children.” These parents work at nurturing and developing themselves to be the best parents they can be.
6. Successful parents enjoy being parents. They enjoy parenting not because it’s easy or instantly rewarding, but because of the sheer joy and privilege of cooperating with God in shaping another unique and precious life. Any parent of grown children will tell you “they grow up so quickly.” Successful parents remind themselves of that and try to savor every day with their children. They immerse themselves in their children as much as possible and just enjoy them – even the days of dirty diapers, illness and disappointments. They don’t just LOVE their children; they LIKE them and look forward to spending time with them.
7. Successful parents strive to be the person they want their children to become. There are no formulas for parents. You can’t just “program” children like a computer and be guaranteed of the result. But children are great observers and imitators. They watch, listen and absorb values and habits from the people who have the greatest influence on them – their parents. So successful parents resolve that they will set the best example they can for their children.