Am I a Good Parent? A Message from Ms. K

From the desk of Ms. K-

Over the last decade, there have been many questions I have been asked as a teacher, yet some still take me by more surprise than others.

The question of “Am I a good parent,” still blows me away. “Why?” You may ask. Well, it depends on how close my relationship is with the parent when this question comes up, but my initial reaction is to want to stand up from behind my table and give the parent a big bear hug. 

The first thing I want the parent to know when asking me this question, usually with tear-filled eyes, is that I think that there is something beautiful in being so vulnerable and opening up to another person and asking them for their opinion about such a personal topic. Think about how much trust you are giving to this person (in this case myself) by asking them this. It takes a lot of courage to ask another adult about your parenting skills. So if you’ve ever asked a teacher this question, I want you to know first and foremost that you are absolutely an AWESOME parent, because you CARE! 

Over the past decade, I’ve encountered thousands of adults and taught hundreds of students. Not a single parent who didn’t genuinely care about and unconditionally love their child EVER asked me this question. The ones who actually needed parenting classes 101 would NEVER ask their teacher or anyone to be quite frank this question. This question typically doesn’t even cross their mind because how could they ever be doing something wrong?

Having fears and doubts are all totally NATURAL, and most parents worry about failing his/her kids. Parents have such high standards for themselves and are able to get into serious comparison traps with others so they start having these natural doubts. 

Remember,  life is a long race that begins and ends with ourselves. So don’t ever compare your insides to someone else’s outsides. There is NO parent-child relationship that is the same; therefore, there is no “best” parent in the world either. (Sorry Mom—of course, to me you will always be #1!)

 However, there are a few tell-tale signs that I have learned over the years that indicate you are a ROCKSTAR parent to your child.

 

  • If your child comes to you when they are facing a problem, that’s amazing. They know that you are the person who will be able to help them navigate and work through their issues. Give yourself a high-five! This is a huge win.Not only does your child come to you with his/her problems, but also he/she is able to discuss his/her feelings without fearing your reaction. This is an incredibly positive sign of an open, accepting and flexible parent-child relationship. 

 

  • Awesome parents give non-critical feedback about behavior and let the child know how to correct the mistake and pinpoint what the issue was versus saying: “You’re such a bad child.” For example, let’s say they are constantly getting in fights with other children at school. Seek out what the issue is. Where is the hurt and frustration coming from that they need to lash out on others? Is it an issue with the other child? School environment? Home environment? Dig deep and don’t ever judge until you know the whole story.

 

  • Letting your child pursue their own talents and interests gets so many kudos from me. Ballet isn’t for boys? Boxing isn’t for girls? Says who? A lot of the times, I have seen parents project their own interests onto their children in order to fulfill unfound expectations. Forcing a child to do something they clearly have no interest in is a huge red flag to me. Of course, there is a difference between a child not “wanting to do homework” versus genuinely not being interested in an activity. There is a fine line between teaching tenacity and trying to force something to happen that wasn’t meant to be. Be brave and communicate with your child to find out where that line is.

 

  • Creating boundaries with children is a must. Without boundaries children can get hurt and lost, and it’s a hard place to come back to. Boundaries help children to feel loved and valued, even when they may not understand why they have to follow ‘all those rules.’ It establishes a predictable and safe environment which sets your child up for success.

 

  • It’s not about making mistakes, but about how you repair them. We all make mistakes, I make multiple on a daily basis, but I know when to say sorry. If you’re teaching your children to be humble and always to learn from their mistakes, you’re on the right path. We’re all human, and all are TOO hard on ourselves. My classroom door always has a special sign on the door, and I wholeheartedly believe in the power of this saying: “If you are not making mistakes, you are not trying hard enough.”

 

I could write a book about this question, but at the end of the day: If you have created a secure base for your child, your child will strive no matter what. It’s all about love, connection, contingency and not EXTERNAL RESULTS I also believe in the power of saying “I love you” EVERY SINGLE DAY!

If you'd like to discuss this topic more in depth, please check out my Parent Consulting Program and we can schedule a time to strategize and figure out a way to deepen your relationship and quell your anxieties.