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How To Be A Good Parent


Sunflower (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

How to be a good parent.  Unfortunately most people become parents when they are young (and dumb?).  Please excuse the should’s.  I couldn’t think of another word.

Ideally a parent should love all children equally and show no favoritism.  They should shower them with unconditional love.  Not if you do this, then and only then I will love you for it.

Children are not born to be slaves (but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t have increasing responsibilities as they get older).  Children should not have to be parents either to their own parents or to their brothers and sisters.  A child should also not be a substitute spouse for their parent.  Parents should not demand from children something that appropriately only should be gotten from the spouse.

Parents should not predict what their children should be based on similarities to other family members or acquaintances.  Predictions like this usually pressure the child and/or are negative.   Children often are what they are no matter what one might expect them to be.  Children might not follow their parents into business or a profession.  For example, my daughter-in-law is red-headed and so are her mother, sister, and father, but both of her kids are blondes.  I didn’t expect that.

I have always said that having a child is like planting a flower seed when you don’t know into what it will bloom so you plant it and you don’t know what you are going to get except that it will be a flower.  It may take a special kind of soil, a maximum or minimum amount of water and a maximum or minimum amount of sunshine.   You have to pay attention to how the plant is doing and change what you do for it based on what works.    You also have to be satisfied with what you get because a sunflower is not a rose and a rose is not a sunflower.  There may be different standards for sunflowers as compared to those for roses.

As children get older they become increasingly independent and do more and more things for themselves.  Parents cannot hold on to their children forever.  Children become parents themselves and they have responsibilities to fulfill with their own families.  Parents often have done their  job when they no longer have anything that they have to do for their children and their children no longer have to do anything for their parents.  This doesn’t mean that they don’t help each other out in a pinch or unforeseen circumstances.  They’re still family.

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