Monday, July 27, 2009

Ten Traits of Great Parents

by Dave Verhaagen

In writing my book, Parenting the Millennial Generation, I interviewed excellent parents to find out what separated them from the rest. Some of what I found was expected, but some of it surprised me. Here’s what I found about the really great parents:

1. They Have Vision for Their Child’s Character – they think about the character traits they value—things like honesty or compassion or courage—and they work to instill these qualities in their child.

2. They Parent Each Child Uniquely — they don’t use a one size fits all approach to parenting. They realize that each child has a unique temperament with unique needs and they parent each child accordingly. They don’t follow cookie cutter steps or rigid formulas.

3. They Don’t Parent for an Audience — they don’t make parenting decisions based on what the neighbors—or their parents or other family members—will think, but on what is best for their child.

4. They Trust Their Instincts — they realize that parenting requires making good decisions based on their gut rather than always needing expert or outside opinions.

5. They Have a Warm & Firm Style — they have the great ability to be warmly involved with their children while still keeping good limits and boundaries.

6. They Co-Parent Well — they communicate, collaborate, and share the same parenting values as their spouse or parenting partner.

7. They Keep Short Accounts — they don’t hold grudges or stay resentful with their children. They do their best to deal with a situation and then let it go without holding it over their child’s head.

8. They Think Win-Win — they try to work out solutions to conflicts with their child where everybody wins, especially with older teens who need practice in making their own decisions.

9. They Have Family Rituals and Traditions — they have daily, weekly, and annual rituals and traditions that give the family a sense of stability, predictability, and safety.

10. They Enjoy Their Kids — they work hard to have fun with their children and enjoy their time with them, even when the kids are driving them crazy!