Roots and Wings - What Makes a Good Parent
Recently while guest speaking at a local BEC breakfast I was asked the question "What makes a good parent?"
My immediate response was "there are three things you need to give your children, one is roots, one is wings and the final, and probably the most important, is an authentic parent."
What do I meant by this?
We need to give our children the grounding and stability of a safe and secure home. This is where they learn about boundaries, limits both internal and external. They learn to self-nurture themselves through watching their parents fulfil their own needs without having to have others fill them for them. We also need to give them a soft place to fall when they start spreading their wings.
We need to give them the independence to try new things, try new ventures, and have faith in themselves and their own judgement. We do this by supporting them with their individuality and their expression of this. It may be dying their hair, wearing different clothes to what we may want them to wear. You know what I mean. However, this needs to be age appropriate and in conjunction with boundaries and limits we as parents have sent.
An authentic parent who is able to be honest in the way they show their feeling, without being toxic, is the most amazing gift we can give our children. This is because we are teaching our children how to be authentic themselves. I can remember when I was a child seeing my mother crying. I asked her why was she sad and I was told me that she wasn't sad. So I learnt to doubt myself. What I saw and what I felt didn't match, they were incongruent. This is the start of disbelieving ourselves and not listening to our own gut instincts.
Also when we are critical of others have you ever noticed whose voice you are actually hearing in your head? I know whose mine is. If we had a critical parent we learn to be critical of not only ourselves, but others as well. The only way I have found to quieten that critical voice is to find something nice about the person I am about to make a judgemental about. Maybe it's their earrings, the colour of their hair, or even the bravery to wear what they are wearing. At the end of the day we are only human and we make mistakes. If we make a mistake with our parenting skills be honest out it, own up to it, learn from it and move on.
If we stay stuck in our past, always looking back, we will miss the wonderful things that are happening in our lives right now. We can't move forward until our eyes are firmly looking forward.
About the Author
I am a qualified, registered & insured counsellor practicing in the southern suburbs of Sydney Australia. I have been seeing individuals, couples and families for a variety of difficulties from relationship and communication issues to self esteem and grief problems.