Unless you are blessed with an overabundance of self confidence, you’ve likely wondered as the rest of us have if you fall into the category of being a “bad” parent. Unfortunately for us, that category is vast and we seem to be teetering on the brink with every decision – too many cookies? Bad parent. Spanking? Bad parent. Not reading enough at bedtime? Bad parent.
One of the lessons taught to parents through our heavy use of media, is that the “good” parents live in a way that is almost unreachable by the normal parents. The Good parents are seemingly doing everything right according to every standard all the time and to achieve a Good Parent status, you must strive for perfection in all areas as well.
The Bad Parents
Judging others is such a tricky tight-rope to walk. It’s actually much easier to judge others as parents before you have your own children. When you have children, you suddenly understand why even the most patient parent can snap at a child who’s thrown five tantrums already or can allow a child to “disturb” other patrons while she desperately tries to finish the first dinner out in six months.
But once you have children, the logic for the smaller things in life gets a bit fuzzy. Are you really a bad parent for turning on the television so that you can make a reasonably healthy dinner? Are you a bad parent for working to support your family even if it means less time at home? Are you a bad parent for not baby-proofing every corner of your living room? Likely not, but that doesn’t stop others from making their own judgments on your behalf.
There are some parents who would earn a majority of Bad votes for their choices. Parents who beat their children or who hurt them in any way. Parents who leave their children unattended or use substances that affect their ability to see or think correctly while they have a child earn almost universal bad marks. But if you’re a parent who’s tortured a child physically or emotionally, you’re likely not agonizing over serving only one kind of fruit today instead of the two recommended.
The Good Parents
In essence, the vast majority of parents are good parents. Good parents can be found in every culture, in every income level, and in every religion. The Good parents share many similarities.
Good parents love their children.
Even with the toughest of all situations, good parents always remember that underneath it all, they love their child and that love is why it is so easy to get frustrated with poor behavior. If you didn’t love the child so much, you likely wouldn’t care a bit that he’s sneaking cookies right before dinner.
Good parents set limits for their children.
Every family is different just like every child is different. The rules and limits for one family might not work very well in another, but every good parent knows that children don’t get whatever they want whenever they want it. Even if he limits are the basics such as a reasonable bedtime and a stern talking to when they misbehave, these parents try to steer their children in the right direction.
Good parents feed their children.
Food is an area fraught with worry and tension from before your child is born. The food you eat while pregnant translates to your unborn child and everyone feels perfectly comfortable telling you that you shouldn’t be eating this or that. And then you battle the breast or bottle feeding problems before moving on to fried foods and sweets. You’re told not to offer them to your children, but you can’t find a children’s menu at any restaurant that doesn’t include them. The best guide for the reasonable Good Parent is to give your child as many healthy choices as you can, and if an extra cookie makes it into the lunch box, be sure there is an apple alongside it.
Good parents protect their children.
Parenting comes with a great deal of protection involved. You protect your unborn baby by staying away from unhealthy chemicals and toxins. You continue to protect your little one in the same way and by choosing the right toys and food items for her. You protect your toddler and teenager primarily from themselves. Even through it feels like a losing battle at times, every small war you fight on your child’s behalf – be it against nightmares or a bad babysitter, you’re doing your job in the best way you know how.
Good parents know that nobody is perfect.
The parent that tells you you’re not perfect is likely living in fear of someone discovering how imperfect she is. The wise parents – usually those who have a toddler or teenage, will tell you that no parent is perfect and every parent has some black marks on her record for words she’d like to take back or a smack on the hand she didn’t mean to give. But if your ambitions are good and you do what you can to get your child one step further on the road to a healthy adulthood, you’d doing everything just right.