A friend and I were chatting about how much COVID-19 information we’re willing to share with our kids. She and I usually see eye to eye, so I was surprised we disagreed. It left me wondering if my approach was wrong and in general, what makes a good parent.
When we look at specific issues, it can be hard to know who’s getting it right. What we CAN do is look at the big picture and ask ourselves some questions. We should always ask if our kids know they are loved, but here are 3 more questions I think will help you know if you’re parenting well.
1. Am I focusing on both quantity and quality time?
A few years ago, a popular paper towel commercial showed that the paper towel’s sheets were so durable you could use them, rinse them, and ring them out for a second or third use. Some products’ quality is so good that you don’t need a lot of it. This isn’t a value that applies to parenting.
Quality time is important, but it’s not what makes a good parent. It cannot replace quantity. I’m not saying the fun family vacation isn’t worth taking. The problem exists if that’s the only time your kids see you. The good news is that eating dinner together or a consistent bedtime routine fills that quantity time bucket.
2. Do my kids know what will happen as a result of their behavior?
Although this might seem specific to discipline and consequences, this question actually reveals if you are clear and consistent with your kids, which is, without question, what makes a good parent (It’s at least one of the things!). Knowing the result of good or bad behavior doesn’t mean our kids will always choose right, but it does help them learn that their actions have consequences.
Plus, being clear and consistent gives them a feeling of safety, and having boundaries gives them permission to explore.
3. Am I the adult I want my child to grow up to be?
Brene Brown said this and man, is it a gut check, or what? I want my kids to have a healthy relationship with technology, but do they see me walking room to room with my phone in my hand? I want my kids to love God, but do they see me spending time praying, serving others, and reading my Bible?
We cannot expect our children to exhibit behaviors we are not modeling. And this is the hardest part of parenting, in my experience. They’re going to do as we do, so we have to do better.
These aren’t the only questions to ask to see if you’re parenting well, and if you’re like me, you didn’t shout a confident “yes” to each one. So we’ve just got to put in the work every day.
What would you add to this list?