As responsible individuals and citizens, being responsible parents is also one of our foremost duties. In times when parenting has generated so much of speculation, one wonders what responsible parenting looks like.
Below is a check list of what responsible parents do and don’t do based on my personal experiences of being a child as well as a parent.
1. They teach more with actions (and examples) and less with words.
Various studies have proved that children learn more from observing and experiencing the world than by taught words. Responsible parents provide the right examples and behavior to their children to learn from. Instead of saying ‘be polite’, they demonstrate politeness by being polite in their everyday life.
2. They encourage more and criticize less
One of the biggest responsibilities of parents is to instill confidence in their children and this can be achieved by being more encouraging and motivating of the children’s strengths and good qualities. Constant criticism can rip the children off their self esteem and demoralizes them. It can take them into withdrawal mode and secretiveness, while regular appreciation helps in building strong, confident and positive children. Responsible parents reward good behavior.
3. They spend quality time with their children
Reports have suggested that when it comes to spending time with kids, quality trumps quantity. We all would prefer an hour of peaceful, undistracted, quality time with our loved ones over four hours full of distractions, divided attention and undue arguments. They spend quality time with their kids that helps in developing a deeper bond of love and understanding between the parents and their children and create their own rituals like the ritual of two minutes of mum-ditation.
4. They act as responsible individuals themselves
Like I mentioned in the point no. 1, children learn more from examples. Responsible parents behave responsibly in front of their children. As responsible individuals, they care for mother nature, be kind to others, practice honesty and are authentic.
5. They encourage dialogues with the kids
Encouraging dialogues with the kids have twofold benefits: it makes them feel that they are important to have their opinions heard and it helps them in developing the art of self expression. Lot of issues can be solved with open communication and having a healthy, logical dialogue. Responsible parents listen actively to their kids and set it as the stepping stone to a relevant and useful discussion.
6. They stay connected as a couple
In a study done by Robert Epstein and Shannon Fox, they reported ‘relationship skills’ as one the three most important ‘parenting competencies.’ According to the study, parents who show great relationships skills as a couple raise happier kids. Responsible parents behave like happy and connected couples to give good example to kids.
7. They understand their kids’ love language
Gary Chapman gave us five love languages for kids. Responsible parents not only learn their kids’ love language but also try to communicate with them in the same language. This helps immensely in addressing the children’s needs directly and filling any emotional need gap in kids.
8. They let their children take their own decisions
Letting the children take their own decisions helps them in self discovery and in feeling important. It should begin at a young age but at the same time what decisions are left upon them depends on their age and maturity. Instead of allowing children to decide whatever they want, responsible parents give them choices and let them choose. Slowly as their sense of judgement grows, this array of choice can be widened.
9. They emphasize more on moral values and less on materialistic things
Time and again it has been proved that in the end, moral values stand taller than materialistic possessions. Responsible parents place more significance on values like honesty, kindness, compassion and integrity and less on materialistic aspects like grades, competition, expensive things and grooming. They understand that a sound character goes a longer way than a better grade.
10. They take parenting easily by giving good memories
They do not follow helicopter parenting and nor are they completely lousy parents. They are right there — raising better kids by giving them the a happy home to live in. They create good memories for their children that often last a lifetime.
What Responsible Parents Don’t Do
1. They don’t fake their attention to kids
They are genuine parents and so when they spend time with the kids, they actually do. They do not just pretend to be there physically. They are mindful of their kids’ presence and give undivided attention to their kids.
2. They don’t compare their kids with others
They don’t fall in the comparison trap to make their child feel inferior. They believe in the individuality of their kid and stay away from unnecessary comparisons and judgements.
3. They don’t stop their kids from voicing their opinions
They value what their kids have to say and let the children have a thinking process of their own. They also do not judge their kids based on their differing opinions.
4. They don’t thrust their decisions upon their kids
They treat their kids as individuals and hence do not thrust their own choices and decisions upon the kids. They first let their kids choose and then depending upon the choice decide whether or not to follow the kids’ decisions.
5. They don’t “act” as great parents
They do not act or pretend. Whatever they are, they are in reality. They do not shower compliments upon their kids in front of others and criticize them when alone and nor they act too goody-goody to gain appreciation from others. Responsible parents learn to become great parents by doing the above mentioned 11 things and they do so heartily.
Originally published at medium.com