Updated: May 6
I think most of us who are parents are constantly asking this. And when we do ask, it means we are probably good parents already (or we wouldn't ask!) and likely to get better with time. When we dedicate ourselves to parenthood, we can become child-centered parents with happy kids.
Three easy ways to improve our parenting are to 1) focus on secure attachment, 2) listen to our kids, and 3) focus on a growth mindset. These fundamental parenting skills will form a strong foundation to our relationship with our child, as well as a positive relationship between our children and the world.
One of the best ways that we can be good parents is by forming a secure attachment with our kids.
Attachment is the word used in psychology to explain the bonds that are formed between children and their caregivers. There are four different attachment styles.
According to Simply Psychology, the four attachment styles are:
As parents, our goal is to create a secure attachment style with our children, so that they are able to feel safe with us. This will enable them to use us as a secure base from which to explore the world. According to Greater Good Berkley,
"Parenting for a secure attachment has two themes: 1) providing comfort when needed and 2) offering the freedom to explore when desired. It’s a simple concept, but one that can be complex to manifest in the rush of everyday life."
A secure attachment creates in our children a balance between love and autonomy. We, as parents, make ourselves available so that our children know that we are available when they need us. By allowing them to feel safe, we also give them a secure sense of self confidence. Self confidence allows children to try new things without being afraid.
With my youngest, we foster a secure attachment by spending time with her and responding to her needs. This allows her to feel safe to try new things. She can color a picture, jump on her trampoline, or play the piano, and know that if she needs help or something goes wrong, we are available to help.
Another important way to be a to be a good parent is to make sure that we listen to our kids, and encourage them to share their ideas and feelings.
When our kids try to share things with us, it is important for us to remember to be present with them. By sharing our attention with them, it is an important way to show that we really care.
Listening to our kids shows them that they are important to us.
Sometimes little ones want to talk endlessly about their toys, or made up stories. It can be easy to disengage and tune them out. We want to be sure that while our kids are talking, we are present, by putting down devices like our phones or laptops. While we listen, engage, and make eye contact, it shows our kids that we care about what they are saying.
The more we show that we care, the easier it is to foster a loving, caring relationship. When we listen attentively, it helps children feel valued and allows them to open up to us in the future.
By listening to the stories our little ones tell us, it opens the door of communication so that when they grow into teens facing difficult issues, they will be comfortable talking with us as well.
Encouraging a growth mindset.
When we encourage a growth mindset, we help our kids become lifelong learners.
According to Harvard Business Review, "Individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset. They tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset (those who believe their talents are innate gifts). This is because they worry less about looking smart and they put more energy into learning. "
By helping our kids to cultivate a growth mindset, we set them up for success in school and for their future careers as well. When a child has a growth mindset, they believe that they can learn new skills through practice, hard work and effort. That means, they believe in their own unlimited potential to grow and get better at things.
When kids believe that they can get better at anything through practice, they are more likely to apply themselves to new tasks. They are also less likely to give up on difficult tasks. Helping our kids to believe in themselves, and that they can do anything through hard work will help them to be successful in the future.
As a child, a growth mindset is something that was instilled in me by my dad. He always taught me that I could do anything that I set my mind to, if I was willing to work hard enough. This taught me to be persistent, and keep trying at difficult tasks until I could learn to be successful. This is a skill that has served me well throughout my lifetime.
I have always believed that I am good at learning new skills. I also believe that if I work hard enough at something, and don't give up, then I will become successful. This is a belief that has made me persist through difficult times, and helped me learn to be a problem solver.
I am grateful to my dad for giving me a growth mindset, even though he had never heard of this term from psychology back in the 80's when I was growing up.
There are many ways to be a good parent. If you are asking yourself the question of how to do better, it is likely that you are trying your best, and that you genuinely love your kids and want the best for them.
Some important ways that you can be a good parent are to foster a secure attachment, listen to your kids attentively and openly, and help them to create a growth mindset. All of these are ways to raise happy, healthy children.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of ways to be a good parent, as this is a very complex topic. But if you do these three things, you are going to be off to a good start.
To read more about how to be a good parent, you can check out these other articles.
Let me know what you think in the comments! What do you think makes a good parent? How do you make sure to let your children know that they are loved?
Also, let me know if there are other topics you would like me to write about in the future.
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