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What makes a good mum or dad?

  1. #1
    mel_g20 is offline Registered User
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    What makes a good mum or dad?

    I have been contemplating lately what makes a good mum ( or dad).

    When I was working I always had goals, and knew whether I was doing OK by measuring my achievements against these.As a parent I often feel I am muddling through, doing my best, but not reallly knowing how I measure up. Plus making alot up as I go along. In fact I sometimes wonder whether my battles over eating, dressing, listening, etc with my 2 and 4 year old are getting me anywhere at all, except me feeling like a grouchy, nagging lady.

    So, I thought I would pose a question or 2 to you other mums (or dads) out there.

    - Do you have a clear idea about what you are aiming for as a parent and how you are going about it.

    - Can you think of situations with your children when you have thought - yes I am a good mum/dad, if so I would love to hear your stories.


    I am currently contemplating these questions and will post my thoughts separately.

  2. #2
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Since you asked, I'll share what I think my husband and I agree are our goals for being a good mom and dad. Just like the rest of the human race (and especially the first-time moms and dads) we also are "faking" our way through and learning along the way.

    1. We care. We care enough to learn and listen to advice and put in the extra effort to do what we feel is best for our child.

    2. We discipline. I won't go into the specifics of that but we believe firmly that good discipline is a gift to children and that with clear boundaries, rewards and consequences children grow up feeling secure and in the future will be able to have self-discipline in their lives as teens and adults. This means that manners are important in our house--he is not allowed to just grab things and scream and get his way. He can and does say "please" and "thank you" and is now learning "I'm sorry." We also keep a pretty consistent schedule with him which has helped make and keep our home life sane!

    3. Laid back. We are laid-back and try not to "helicopter" parent. For me, praciticaly, that means that I try to give my child room. I am always there to keep an eye on him (he's a toddler) and prevent him from hurting himself and others but at the same time, I don't need to be his shadow, holding his hand and doing everything for him. I like to give him as much room as I can to explore without controlling the situation.

    4. Responsibility. This probably goes along with discipline but as our son gets older, we let and require him to do the things he can do for himself. I have seen a few of my close friends do everything for their children--cooking, cleaning, tidying up--everything. Those friends are great moms but they are also exhausted moms (they don't have helpers to do it for them either). We now ask my toddler to clean up his toys, put his dirty clothes in the hamper and throw items in the trash bin. He can and does do all of these things. He is part of the family so we want him to participate in household duties. The older he gets the more we will expect from him.

    5. Physical. We're quite physical in the way we play with and interact with my son. We rough-house with him. We run around with him. We dance, we jump. We **** and hug and are openly physically (hugs and ****es) affectionate with him and each other (mom and dad). We both grew up in homes where our parents hugged and ****ed and felt that was a positive image for our child to experience.

    6. Communicate. We make it a point to listen and talk to our son. We have our own funny songs we sing to him that we've made up ourselves--there are songs for dressing and songs for eating and just songs about him. We also talk to him like he can understand--even when we know he can't. We don't talk down to him like he is not as intelligent as we are but try to talk to him normally--not so much baby talk. We also just assume he knows more and can do more than we realize so we leave room for him to surprise us.

    7. Finally, when we make mistakes, we say sorry to him, even when he was little and we knew he couldn't understand what we meant, it's important for us to try to stay humble as parents and know when we've made mistakes and really be straight-forward about it because that's the kind of example we want to set.

    Overall, for us, we want our son to be a caring, responsible, capable person when he grows up so we think about that when we set our example and design our daily lifestyle.

  3. #3
    Buckeroo is offline Registered User
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    mel_g20, I struggle with this, too! I just blogged about this a few days ago --

    Mamahood, Among Other Things...: Seeking Balance #1: Competitiveness

    Mamahood, Among Other Things...: Competitiveness: A Postscript

    Those two posts barely scratch the surface of what I've been thinking about for a while...

    I always pray that as a parent I will "do right by" my children. I know, that's very broad. But that's my goal --to help my children off to as best a start as I can provide them, guide them as best I can with whatever 'tools' I have at my disposal at any given time... And pray that I don't drop the ball when it really counts.

    One very good advice that I'd read somewhere: Picture how you want your children to be as adults --and work toward that. For example, if you want your child to grow up to be a responsible, loving, well-read, knows-the-value-of-hard-work, confident individual, a leader, etc., then work on instilling the those values, expose him/her to activities, books, people, etc. that will help him/her become that kind of person. Always mindful, though, of the little ones' own individuality and not foisting on them our own idea of what they should be --in terms of direction in life --beyond equipping them with proper 'values' to help them be who they want to be.

  4. #4
    putput is offline Registered User
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    I don't know any of you personally but I'm convinced I've just read the posts of three good mums! One who cares enough about her children to question herself and what she is offering her children; one who has set goals to ensure she and her partner instill good values into their children; and one who prays and works towards doing right by her children, with the aim of giving them the right tools to lead fulfilling lives.

    Growing up, I saw so many parents fill their children with insecurity and guilt, focusing on the 'sacrifices' they had made for their children and what their children 'owed' them in return. In my book, a mother or father who focuses on what they can give to their child rather than what they want back from their child is what I would call 'a good parent.' I love the 'unselfish' way my parents bought me up - they taught me values I want to pass on to my children, worked with me to understand right from wrong, learn to to adapt to a new generation's way of thinking and were open enough to acknowledge rather than try to suppress my individuality. Now I understand just how hard it must have been for them at times but they've always stood by me. No matter what life throws my way (and I've had some pretty bad times chucked right at me!!) I think of mum and dad and I feel safe and protected. That's what I want my daughter to feel - completely safe in the knowledge that we'll always be there for her.

  5. #5
    mel_g20 is offline Registered User
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    Thanks everyone for your replies.

    Its made me realise that I do have goals I am working to with my kids - mostly instinctive things, discipline, good manners, social interaction etc, but I've never verbalised them all at once, and agreed a common approach with my husband.

    AS my husband works long hours, I realise that I am the primary adult who will direct my kids through life. I never realised before they were born that this would come down to me, but I have been feeling a little overwhelmed by it. Also finding at weekend when my huisband is home that his approach and mine dont always tie together, and I find it a little frustrating.

    However I think my husband and I need to agree some ground rules and focus on how we bring them up together.

    And at the moment, I think I am doing a good job when my children feel secure, are happy, give me cuddles with that unconditional love they seem to offer, even if a second ago they have just been in touble.

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