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The Importance of Being a Good Parent

Characteristics of a Good Parent by
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For most people, growing up in a household brings back fond memories of least one parent, if not both, children have had in a relationship. Whether it was a good or bad relationship, there is still a memory of stability and the feeling of home. For those who never had parents or parents who did not take their responsibility seriously, feelings of emptiness and insecurity abound.

According to the web site of "The Parents 4 Child Support Enforcement, their report in 2000 of the Federal Office of Child Support says there are at least 19 and a half million children living without the support of either father or mother in the United States. What a sad state of affairs to hear of so many children not feeling the support of their parents. Being a good parent takes energy and patience but the rewards are outstanding. As a mother of nine children, I can tell you that it is a lot of work but the payback is sometimes overwhelmingly wonderful and very joyful. So what does it take to be a good parent? Here are some suggestions:

1. Be a consistent disciplinarian: This is one of the hardest characteristics of a good parent. Children need boundaries and feel secure when you say no. They know where they stand and even though they will push the limits of their parents' boundaries; hold fast and don't cave. This consistency will help mold your children's idea of what is fair. Both parents should be together on what is appropriate for their own children so when they try to pit parent against parent, (and they will) consistency will win out.

2. Remember the Golden Rule: Even if you are the disciplinarian, treating your children with kindness and patience will show compassion and they in turn will treat others this way. Manners and politeness seem to be losing ground in child-raising in our modern society but it is an important part of preserving our culture. Asking permission to play with a neighbor's toy is much kinder than acquiring the toy by taking without permission. It is a civilized world when we, as a people, can keep our manners intact by passing them on to the next generation.

3. Be available for talk time: This aspect of parenting is very important as it leaves communication open for children to receive adults' teaching about lessons in life or a listening ear for their concerns. It is vital that we listen to our children. They need someone to hear their opinions and we need to reinforce our ideals. Talk time is very important for all ages of children and we, as parents, must remember to talk even though we are tired or annoyed by life's trials.

4. Set a good example: All of what we do is copied by our children. What we say, how we treat others, how we dress and talk are all noticed even by the smallest of tots. They might not seem to be paying attention but they do. Good behavior should always be reinforced at home. Remember, parents are a child's very first teacher so setting a good example is very important. I know we are not perfect but we have to keep trying to make good choices as parents so our children will make good choices as teenagers and adults.

5. Keep electronic entertainment to a minimum: Whether it's X-box, television or online computer games, too much electronic entertainment makes children lazy. In most cases, children would prefer to be entertained by a screen than play outside or read a book. This struggle has been going on since I was growing up in the sixties and will only get worse as electronic entertainment becomes more sophisticated. Children should not be allowed more than two hours of electronic entertainment in a day as life becomes distorted if left alone to their own devices. There have been many studies proving this to be true. You are doing your children a tremendous favor if you kick them off their electronic devices and make them play outside, read a book or play a board game.

If we don't take parenting seriously, we will be raising a generation of ill mannered, lazy people without good examples of parenthood to carry onto the future. Somehow, parents need to get the message that being a good parent is really important. Somehow, we need to instill in the minds of our rising generation the importance of good parenting and pass on the positive characteristics for the future generation.

Valerie Steimle is the mother of 9 children and loves life at home. She has written many articles for local newspapers and online magazines on the education of her children and the strength of the family. She is the author of four books: Home Is Where the Heart Is, Home Is Where the Learning Is, Of One Heart: Being Single in the LDS World and now Dogs, Blogs and Hobbits: Writings from a Widow's Perspective and now Thoughts from the Heart: Writings from the Gulf Coast of Alabama. Her writings are based around strengthening families and believes that there is a direct connection between the strength of the family and the strength of the country.

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Valerie Steimle
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