Congratulations, you have made the commitment to bring a beautiful child into this world. As magical as it is, it is also very daunting, far from easy and the biggest responsibility one must embrace.
But what does that word ‘parent’ actually mean and how can we make sure we do the job justice?
Nothing can truly prepare you for parenthood.
This is a sweeping statement, yet seven years into my journey, one I personally feel rings true.I was never prepared when I was 30 years old. I was (some would say), a stereotypical man who believed at the time of my loving partner falling pregnant, that I was not ready to be a parent!
The fact our daughter was not ‘planned’ no doubt aided my naive perception.
Yet a decision to have children and the commitment a couple choose to make, can not be an ideal planned process in itself right?
Anyhow, I’m starting to go off topic somewhat and we can leave the ‘when do I know I’m ready’ discussion for another article!
What I want to look into further, for the purpose of hindsight and to reaffirm my own understanding is the question: ‘what does it actually mean to be a parent?’ and how can this actually correlate into positive actions, to know your doing the role itself (and your children) justice?
So through the power of a well educated Google search(!), let’s research and discuss some parent definitions, elaborating on my own personal experience thus far, in hope it may aid those who are preparing to make such a commitment alongside those; whom like me, are forever learning on the job daily!
noun: parent; plural noun: parents
- a person’s father or mother.”the parents of the bride”
ARCHAIC a forefather or ancestor.”God’s hand had written in the hearts of our first parents all the rules of good”
verb: parent; 3rd person present: parents; past tense: parented; past participle: parented; gerund or present participle: parenting
- be or act as a parent to (a child).”all children are special to those who parent them”
It’s the VERB that I simply want to initially focus on here. The act of a parent. The doing! The action! Which leads on to….. how do I act as a parent?
To quote the Jedi master Yoda: “Do or do not, there is no try”.
Should we as parents follow this mantra through WHAT actions we should exemplify to our children.
Well in short, yes. Do act, the way you want your child to act. Do not act, the way you do not want your child to act.
Actions will always resonate more strongly and directly to your child than words. Never overlook this fact, would be my advice.
The million $ question:What is a good parent?
A good parent is someone who encourages the child to do something he/she enjoys doing; who instills in the child a strong sense of morality; who corrects the child when the child is doing something wrong; who teaches the importance of respect and diligence; and who imparts to the child a willingness to learn.
We could write about this subject all day; no doubt we shall delve into this further in future articles, but let’s just summarise this statement above and highlight some key fundamentals.
Encourages! Like it!
We all fall foul of trying to force our own beliefs, upbringing and values onto our children, which can potentially lead the child to suppressing their own opinions, interests & ultimately character development.
Allow them to be themselves and for their own personalities to develop. Do this by encouraging them to try/ succeed and ultimately fail at everything possible.
Most of all communicate and listen to them!
The latter is key when giving children the confidence to develop their own opinions and for them to feel you as a parent: value them.
Strong sense of morality..This is the practising of demonstrating the good and bad, the right and wrong.
You do this through every action you do- let alone promote. Never overlook this!
Teach respect, love, empathy, diligence and give them the basics we all naturally crave, as highlighted in the below diagram through Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
This statement is also strongly linked to discipline & how you implement this.
We shall not delve deep into this for today, but my personal opinion to discipline is to teach the right way to be, to do things; you won’t go far wrong!
I have been a lot more conscious in my own parenting approach to this of late.
Allowing myself to breath and not be triggered by misbehaviour and to ask more “why is my child acting like this” alongside “ what am I doing that may be leading to this behaviour” and then addressing those issues: normally results in acts of reassurance for my child, demonstrating a calming energy and use of tone or giving a comforting hug.
I have found this consciousness seems to have a much more positive impact then reverting to a punishment like the naughty step, or a consequence eg) you will not get X.
I’m not saying these techniques do not work: as I am not a professional in this field.
These are just techniques, I choose not to use at present; if ever.
Say, we’ll elaborate on such points more in future Dad Man Life articles/ shows.
Finally, our above definition states: “ imparts to the child, a willingness to learn”.
Being a professional practitioner for over 15 years now, this is something I firmly believe in.
Learning is something that is vital for us all and has positive impacts; much more than just adding to our personal knowledge.
Never forget – Teaching starts @ home.
For a child, learning aids not only their personal cognition development but also plays a key part in developing a child’s emotional and social needs.
Once again, I will dive into this more in future as we are just summarising here, what we can take from these definitions.
I would like to add, that teaching your children can also be a great way to broaden your own skill set as a parent and to form a magical bond with your child as you learn together.
From learning phonics & words with reading to developing your child’s fine motor skills through playing building blocks, learning a piece on the junior keyboard to playing a sport, you can use this time to truly bond with your child and to stretch and challenge you both accordingly.
It also allows you to share memorable experiences, while building a solid foundation for the future & up-skill yourselves.
DO NOT FEAR learning nor failure. Overcoming challenges learning from mistakes is what allows us to achieve and grow. In turn, aiding us to be stronger for the resulting next challenge, in this incredible game of life!
But what about the HOW? How can I be a good parent? What exactly is my role?
In this role, you give direction, impose rules, use discipline, set limits, establish and follow through with consequences, hold your children accountable for their behavior, and teach values. You provide the guidance that helps your children to change, grow, and mature.
So how can we be good parents?
I shall not preach to you or anyone, HOW a parent should be.
This is very much down to individuals feelings, perception, alongside a persons own situation, health to name a few factors.
I believe we have covered some good suggestions above and as aforementioned aplenty, we shall cover many of these issues and topics throughout our mission here @ Dad Man Life, to share our own wisdom & experiences to aid fellow Dads through the magical journey of fatherhood.
All I will say here, is when you are parent, enjoy it & embrace it – Don’t waste it!
Cliche I know, yet it truly does go by- way too fast!In summary there is no one right way to be a parent, yet there are hundreds of ways you can be a good parent!
No amount of pre-planning can prepare you for being a parent and the emotional journey you may be about to embark on. Yet there is no harm in pre-planning with your partner, reading up on the subject and getting the ‘nest’ ready!
Be conscious of the fact it’s a role we can never truly get right every-time.
Learn and grow from your mistakes.
Ultimately give love, embrace the role & cherish your family, cherish your children, cherish yourself and enjoy the magical journey of being a loving parent.
Shane @ DMT
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