What makes a Good Parent?
It is our job as parents to guide the learnings and the experience of the child. You will find though that very soon the child will show that he or she is an individual with some of his or her likes, preferences and desires. Indeed because of the question of Nature versus Nurture, some things will be clearly like Grandpa, or mummy and that is the “DNA” or the “Genes” talking. Some other things are Nurture and he or she will learn and adopt the style of the home, the family, their place of learning, friends etc.
But the question is – is there something like a terrific parent? What is a good parent?
Some parents project their own expectations and emotional issues on their children. I think every parent does this really, its just to what extent that might differ and whether or not the parent crushes the child under expectations that may not align with the child.
Many parents say “I suffered so my children don’t have to suffer” while this is good in the right doses you must not take away from the child the ability to learn, make their own mistakes, earn a living and learn the art of delayed gratification while working for what they want. Providing everything for your child only leads to an adult who cannot function for his or herself. You should share the things you have done right, did you choose a career path that you felt was particularly good and therefore that is why you can provide them with the things you can? Teach them the advantages of hardwork, the benefits and disadvantages, but let them know if they are enjoying the benefits…it is NOT their success it is your success they are enjoying. They must be equipped to define and make their own success.
Projecting your regrets on your child? A parent can make this positive by ensuring that you share stories of your mistakes with your children while helping them to learn the right message from it. You should ask them questions and let them explore ways you could have done things differently, what you learnt? and what they can learn from the experiences.
Marital discussions – How many mothers for example feel they did not marry the right man? Or vice versa the man who feels he married the wrong woman? some mothers tend to compensate for this by turning their beloved son into the model of the man they wish they had married? They put so much work and effort into turning the boy into their model man and often times this becomes a problem when “Tijani” becomes an adult and wants to get married…the “difficult mother in law” comes out because she feels she did all the work to produce a good man and then “Titi” wants to come and marry him? Not only is Titi lucky enough that Tijani married her, now Titi dares not to “appear” to hang on to Tijani’s every word? Remember mothers, your son was not given to you to replace your husband. Neither will you and Titi ever see him in the same light, she will know him in ways you can never know him.
Instead turn this around and if there were mistakes you made in choosing a spouse, things you feel you could have done differently, discuss it with your children while making sure you do not end up bashing your spouse in-front of the children.
Some fathers might have been “very promiscuous or bad boys” therefore being very edgy about their daughters dating…The best thing you can do is discuss with your children (yes both daughters and sons) about the dangers of living like this, pointing out to your daughter what to watch out for. However be sure not to “judge” everyone by your own lense as not everybody is out to hurt. If you don’t teach them the right values the children will learn the wrong way and pick up the wrong lessons.
Business Lessons – What challenges in business or betrayals you have faced? Was it a “friend” who changed the terms of a business contract? Or stole your business idea? Or you did it to someone and now regret it?
Once again it is important to share these with your children, but not to scare them into believing that everyone is a fraud. Instead teach them to read contracts well, understand all the terms in agreements. It is better to teach them not to rely only on being friends or gentlemen agreements based solely on a handshake when it comes to business. As someone once advised me “A contract only comes up when there is a problem” that is when everyone says what did we put in the contract. It is better to discuss and put everything down in writing. I learnt the hard way about reading anything I sign carefully during my SSCE time when I didn’t pay attention to the subjects listed for my SSCE exams. Physics was omitted from the list and back then at all of 16 I signed without reviewing…this carelessness lead to my result being delayed till much later. This has led to me reading contracts and any agreements in detail!
The overall message here is one way we can be sure to try and be “Great, Terrific Parents” is to let our children learn from our mistakes but remember that they are their own individuals and we must give them room and ability to be themselves. The best measure of being a good parent is perhaps that you raised an independent, disciplined, hard-working, God-fearing, humble, honest individual!
picture courtesy carterkellyconsulting