By the time I was about twelve years old, I knew that I wanted to be a parent. I saw it as a part of life and of being a man. My belief was that I would naturally be good at it so I never took the time to find out what is good parenting. I think that it’s the same with most if not all other people.
As a result, little or no intentional preparation is made for such a serious responsibility. The outcome is homes that function on a trial and error basis according to what the parents picked up along the way as they matured.
Preparation however, provides a huge advantage to both the parents, the children and the community. When there’s a plan, if it is followed, then there is direction and a final result.
So let us examine some to the things that an individual should know in order to be a good parent.
Good parenting – male
God created man to be the head of the home. Until the coming of the feminist movement, this fact was seldom challenged. Today, in spite of the work of feminism and the absolute deception of atheism, the male continues to be seen as the head of the home. However, what was clear about his role some time ago, has been blurred.
The father finds himself today, having to make up what good male parenting is as he goes. Many times he fails to meet societal standards and is demonized for it.
How can you know if you are being a good father?
I think that the best way to know is to find out from the Maker what role the father was created to perform. To know that, you need to read His Word. I will seek to briefly tell you here what I have learned from doing so.
- The father must be a house band. He must have the ability to keep his family together. His authority should be firm and yet gentle. Not authoritarian and abusive. To do so, he needs to treat his wife with love and respect. (Go here for the definition of love) If he does not, then she will not respect him and her example will filter into their children. His loving guidance should help keep the family together.
- He must be a provider. In spite of the huge number of working mother in society now, men are still seen as the provider, the one responsible for bringing in an income. A woman may choose to stay at home to raise the children and that would be fine, but an unemployed male is looked down upon. More so if he is a father. It must be seen that the father is providing no matter how small the income that he brings in. This includes providing security for his family – and I do not mean that he has to walk around with a gun. A man who is respected in his community need no weapon.
- He should show love to his children and be careful to spend time with them. This should happen from the time of conception right into adulthood. Children should know that their father care about them and have their best interest at heart. He should enter into their play with them with as much enthusiasm as he would teach them spiritual things, or discipline them.
- This is a tough one, but a good father should not be afraid to discipline his children. In order to rightly do so however, he too must be disciplined. Or else, he would be saying; “do as I say and not as I do”. That method is most times ineffective. Discipline here, does not necessarily have to be the use of the rod, but it does not exclude its use if it is necessary. This should only be as a last resort though.
- Having a common understanding with his spouse is also crucial in the good upbringing of the child. If their approach to parenting is at odds with each other, the children will become confused and not know at first who to pay attention to. Most times they choose the path of the least resistance which would leave one parent feeling rejected and unwanted. This ultimately leads to resentment and can result in an unwanted power struggle between the spouses which the children take advantage of. In the end, all lose.
- His example should be of a high standard and first be seen in how he treats his wife. The use of anything harmful to his body should be avoided and his speech should reflect self-respect and respect for others also. His love and devotion to his parents and other adults should be evident. If present, his children will learn from his example without him having to emphasize this.
- Though mention last, this is the foundation of all that went before. He must have a solid relationship with God. If a man reverences and worships God, then he will know how to do the others. This factor will also enable him to keep his passions in check, so that when tested by the issues of life, He will know where to turn for guidance and not lose his cool. Understanding that there is a solution to every test he faces gives a man that confidence to meet them with grace and poise.
You may be able to think of other attributes that I have not mentioned here. If so, you can include them in the comments section at the end of this article.
So we move on to the female.
Good parenting – female
As I stated in my post on mothers, the mother plays an indispensable part in the proper parenting of her child. At times, it may appear that her role is more important than the father’s. I do not subscribe to that thought but I wholly recognize the immense responsibility that rests upon the shoulders of a mother.
Like the father, parenting begins from conception. The mother is the one that carries the seed that will develop into a full human being. He self care therefore is of absolute importance. So:
- A good mother looks after her health. She pays close attention to the things she puts into her body. Whatever goes into her mouth goes to form the cells that make up her system. Good food, together with closely following the other seven doctors of health, will ensure that she is “healthy and fertile soil” for the reception of the embryo upon conception. When she is healthy, she almost guarantees that she will produce a healthy child.
- Women are more emotional than men. This fact has sometimes been abused as some women act as though they have no control over their emotion. This is not true and with effort, any woman can properly channel her emotion so that it is not harmful to her, her spouse nor her child – unborn or born. Her spouse can play a significant part here by providing the emotional nourishment that his wife needs. This would require honest and open communication, for most times, the male is at a loss to know what it is his wife is going on about. If this is not handled correctly, then all this passion is passed on to the fetus and will later be manifested as the child matures.
- Mutual respect between spouses is valuable and I dare say critical for good parenting. I know that some of you my readers will have difficulty with this, but just as the husband/father is required to love his wife, so too the, wife is required to reverence and obey her husband. (stay cooooooolllllllll) :)). This is necessary for the smooth functioning of the relationship and home. A wife who respects her husband and shows it is teaching her children the same. This does not take away from who you are but instead strengthens your character for it takes a ‘mature’ mind to understand and follow this step.
- Home is what the woman makes it. If she is nagging and quarrelsome, then neither her husband nor children will want to be around her. There are many things in life that can challenge a mother and lead to fretfulness. Here is where self-discipline and the need to control the emotion comes in. Self-talk is also very important here, for if you view the situation in an unhealthy light, then the corresponding actions will follow. Serious thought must be placed on every situation before a decision and response is made. The wisdom shown will be passed on to the children and admired and commended by the spouse.
- A good mother should be willing to and teach her children discipline. Her example too, speaks more than what she say to her children. Right and wrong should be early explained to and lived before the children. When the standard is set, everyone should know that there are consequences for lowering or breaking them down. This should not go unnoticed or be upheld by one parent only. If there is disagreement between parents as to the level of the requirement, then they should discuss it – alone. All disagreements between spouses should be discussed between them both and kept there. In that way, harmony is maintained in the home.
- Keeping a well functioning house is still seen as part of the responsibility of the good mother. That does not mean that she has to do everything in the home. The spouse, if present, should chip in and help with the home chores. This sets a good example for the children and gives them less reason to complain when instructed to do something in the home. Please do not wait until they are teenagers to have them help with the chores. Most times this is too late and you will have to deal with the grumbling, complaining and at times outright refusal.
- When the mother has a relationship with God, she has allied herself to the greatest source of help in the universe. There are always challenging times in being a mother, especially if you are seeking to “do right by your child” and there are environmental factors that are counteracting your teaching. Where you cannot reach, God can reach. A mother’s prayer seems to always prevail in the presence of God. For that to be a reality though, you have to have a relationship with Him. If you don’t, now’s a great time to do so.
Support from relatives
Even though the success of the newly established unit is greatly dependent upon the couple, relatives play a supremely important role in this also.
I have found that the parent that was very strict with you, is not as firm on the reins with your children – their grand. I recall once disciplining my son, using the same method that my mom had used with me – I lived next door to her at the time. She witnessed the situation and upbraided me for my actions.
I pointed out to her that I had only done what she had done when disciplining me. She calmed down then but still insisted that I find another method.
Even uncles, aunts, cousins and other relatives can hamper the lessons you are trying to teach your children if you are not careful. Perhaps it may be wise to let them know what standards you are attempting to teach and enlist their support. If not, their influence on your children may be counter-productive to what you are trying to instill.
This may necessitate you having to keep your child away from their influence.
I recall a friend of mine having to deal with such a situation.
She had become a vegetarian by the time her child was born and so brought up her child on that diet. As the child grew older, her relatives insisted that the child be allowed to eat flesh. Their argument was that she had eaten it at a time and so she should allow the child to do so now. They stated this in front of the child and even offered the flesh to her.
In no way was this helpful to the parent or child and in situations like this, when it is clear that your wishes are not respected. It would be prudent not to expose your child unduly to such temptations. One departure would, if unchecked, lead to another.
So love your relatives and teach your children to do the same, but enlist their help in going along with you in the principles you are seeking to teach to your children.
Conversely, there are relatives who would hold up your hands in your effort to rightly train your children. These are the ones to spend more time with. They may also be helpful in helping you identify errors that you are making and ways to patiently correct them.
Standing alone as a good parent
There are times when parents must be willing to stand alone if necessary to ensure the well-being of their children.
This may include going up against institutions – schools, medical advice, family, friends and even the wishes of the child. Evidently this would be a very difficult decision to make, so it must be well taught out. If you are a believer in God, then seeking His guidance is always crucial. I have come to learn that when you know that you have His approval, even though it is not always easier, you are fortified to take the stand that you must take.
If under such a burden, then it is always good to do your research to ensure that you are not operating under a false premise. Principle must always supersede anything and anyone else.
The safest and best place to find unshakable principle and or commands is in the Bible, the Word of God. So study it, understand it and then let nothing and no one lead you away from it.
Examine your philosophy
The success or failure of parents is based on their philosophy of life. So to say that “you make the child but you don’t make the mind” would mean that the upbringing your children receive will be based on that false notion.
From conception, you begin to “make the mind” of the child. Everything that he or she receives thereafter is imparted to a large extent by you and to a lesser extent the environment in which he is raised.
To a great degree, the career mother coupled with the system of preschool, has taken the training of children out of the hands of the parent. If you want to be the one to primarily influence your child in those early years – 1 to 7, then you will have to revisit your desire for another career.
The upbringing we give our children will to a great degree determine the kind of men or women we provide to society. The man you train will determine the husband your neighbor’s daughter gets. The woman your neighbor brings up will determine the wife your son gets.
That training will also determine if you spend their youthful years delighting in their success, or if you will have to spend your hard-earned cash, bailing them out of jail or paying a defender to try to keep them out.
If you put in the right work and provide good parenting, then you would be assured of the former.
I trust that you enjoyed this post. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to engage me by leaving them in the space provided below.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon.