Believe it or not, there are many different types of parenting, each with their own ups and downs, struggles and successes–and all with the feeling of love and satisfaction of watching your child grow up.
There are more ways of parenting than just “mom and dad.” Sometimes it’s just mom or dad, or single parenting. Sometimes it’s both mom and dad, however, co-parenting is the way these parents need to raise their children. Being a stepparent is a whole different type of parenting–stepping up and raising children that you didn’t help to create can be difficult. Whatever your situation is, there are always ways to be a successful parent.
Whether you are a single parent, co-parenting or being a stepparent, you all have a few things in common: you’re a parent, either a mother or a father. You love your children, regardless of if the child is your biologically or not. You all experience the ups and downs and getting to see the child or children you raise grow up to be an adult–and nothing can beat that feeling.
What is Successful Parenting?
Many people consider “successful” parenting being near unachievable. They have the thought that unless you are perfect, you won’t be a successful parent, and with all the mom and dad shaming out there nowadays, parents, especially new parents, feel pressure to be this perfect image of a parent.
They believe that to be a successful parent, you don’t yell, your kids always listen and behave, the house is clean and laundry is kept up, and breakfast, lunch and dinner are always on time and made organic. They believe that to be a successful parent, their kids’ grades are straight A’s, they’re the football star or the cheer captain and they go off to be in college and have a great career. These parents believe that unless you can provide a huge Christmas or Easter every year, you’re failing.
All of these ideas on being a successful parent are brought on by the media and Hollywood, giving us these ideas on what parenting is by showing the “perfect” family in movies and TV shows. Other parents tend to shame each other for not doing thing how they do them. Many single parents are shamed for not giving their child two parents, regardless of now knowing the whole situation. Co-parents are made to feel bad for putting their children in a broken home, while stepparents are overpraised for coming in and “doing what the other parent wouldn’t.”
Successful parenting isn’t about big holidays, straight A’s, meals on time, your kids going to a big college or being the athletic star. It isn’t about making sure the house is clean and laundry is kept up on all the time while working full-time to provide.
Successful parenting is about teaching your kids to do their best, even if it means having C’s on the report card. It’s about making sure there is food on the table, even if you make Hamburger Helper twice a week. It’s about providing as much as you can, even if it means small holidays–a roof over their head and food on the table is far more important.
Successful parenting is about raising your children with love and teaching them to love one another. It’s about teaching them morals and how to be a good person through and through. It’s about supporting your child through their choices and holding them when they’re sad.
Successful parenting is about laughing together and crying together and being there for each other through thick and thin. Do your best, love your child and teach them to be a good person and you’re already a successful parent.
Skills Every Successful Parent Should Know and Have
- Being understanding. Show love and affection always, and teach them to always show that.
- Management of negative emotions such as stress and anger. Teach them it’s okay to be angry or stressed or sad, but how to react and handle it.
- Behavioral management. Teach your children not to act out and how to cope with feeling out of control.
- Strong relationship and life skills. This will help teach them the best ways to navigate through life.
- Help with teaching children educational and moral skills.
- Healthy habits. Teach your children healthy habits to help them lead a long, healthy lifestyle.
Successful Co-Parenting Tips
Co-parenting is when, for whatever personal reasons, the mother and father are no longer together and still must raise their children together but separately. These parents share the job of raising the child. Often times, co-parenting is the result of a divorce or separation, but can also be a result of having a baby out of wedlock and both parents want to be part of the child’s life but not be a couple.
Many times, co-parenting can cause stress on the child, especially if the parents don’t get along. The children have a higher chance of developing depression, poor social skills, and poor relationship skills. This is why it is crucial to know how to successfully co-parent. Successful co-parenting includes both parents playing an active role in the child’s life.
You need to put your differences and dislikes aside for the sake of your child. Your issues and fights are not your child’s, so do not put the children in the middle. Mediation can help with setting up a schedule if the two parents can’t come to an agreement on their own. Joint custody can help to solve problems, especially if the parents are continuously fighting. Joint custody could also cause more problems, but again, do not let the child see the anger.
Separate feelings and behavior. Do not allow the way you feel to interfere with the way you act and treat the other parent. Your child will see this, and it is important for you to treat the other parent with respect–do what is best for your child.
Do not put your child in the middle. Keep your problems to yourself or between you and the other parent. Do not use your child as a guilt trip or a means of “getting revenge.” Do not speak poorly about the child’s other parent to your child.
Learn how to communicate with your co-parent. Make the communication more formal, as if it were a business meeting. Try to avoid demands and word phrases in the form of requests. Communicate consistently and keep it strictly child oriented.
Make sure you both know rules, schedules, and discipline. Children need stability, and they are already lacking that with having to go back and forth. If both parents can agree on a set of rules, a schedule and methods of discipline and praise it gives the child more stability. If it varies a little, that is okay, but make it as close to the same as you can.
Make agreements on choices for the child. This includes education, medical choices, and financial decisions. If you are having a hard time coming to an agreement, remember it is about the child, not you, and come to a compromise if necessary.
Make arrangements ahead of time for where the child will stay. Always drop the child off, unless specified by the court for pick up. Agree on a steady time and day and stick to it. Agree on holiday arrangements, and make sure to remind your children they will be going to their other parent’s house a few days in advance.
Successful Single Parenting Tips
Whether you are a single parent by choice or by circumstances, it can be quite challenging. Typically, the other parent is hardly involved if at all, and if they are, often co-parenting is what it comes down to. However, most often, the other parent is absent a majority of the time. Often with single parenting, the other parent has visitation over joint custody. Even if you co-parent, one or both of the parents will consider themselves a single parent.
If you do not co-parent, then you are a textbook “single parent.” You are raising this child on your own with no help. It can be very challenging, however very rewarding at the same time. Many single parents feel guilty for not giving their children two parents, however, you should not–a successful single parent will make it so the child does not miss anything as far as having only one parent.
Be a parent first and a friend second. Many single parents, due to the feelings of guilt, forget that they are the parent before they are a friend and will fail to discipline their child when needed. You also miss many chances to give guidance when needed if you’re too busy being a friend to your child. Parents are there to teach their children, even if it means having their kids be angry with them for a while.
Keep “grown-up” problems to yourself. Your children don’t need to know the problems you are facing as an adult and/or parent. This could impact then negatively. They are your children, not your therapist–if you need someone to talk to, find another adult who can listen and possibly help.
Spend time with your kids and enjoy the little things. This might be hard, especially working full time and having to care for the house and the kids all on your own. However, even if you just plan a movie night together or go get ice cream or take a walk, it is important to spend that time with your kids. It benefits them and you!
Make schedules for household work. Once your children are old enough, have them help you out around the house. Teamwork makes the dream work! Also, make sure you allow the kids time to play–after all, they are exactly that: kids!
Get other positive influences for your kids. While you are their first role model, and the most important, it is important for them to have more than just you. Whether it be one of your friends or a family member, it is good for your children to realize that more than just mom or dad can love them.
Be open about being a single parent, and accept help when it is offered. You don’t need to be a superhero all the time. Make sure your children’s teacher or coaches know that you are doing this alone–they will be understanding. If someone lends a helping hand, there is no shame in taking it.
Hang in there. It’s okay to stop and cry if you need to. Don’t be too hard on yourself. In the end, you’ll end up pulling yourself together and doing what you do best–raising and loving your children.
Successful Step-Parenting Tips
A stepparent is often looked at very highly. They came in and took it upon themselves to help raise children that aren’t biologically theirs. They love these kids regardless of who the biological parent is and views them as their own. They really do deserve that round of applause. However, it isn’t always easy, especially if the children are already a little older and are either bitter or unwilling to accept their parent moving on.
As the kids get older, they may fight the fact they have a stepparent and say things like, “You aren’t my mom/dad, and you never will be!” or “I don’t need you as my parent.” This can be hurtful, however, you need to be patient and understanding that the child might be struggling. If you are bringing children into the family, they might not want to accept having a new brother or sister because they aren’t biologically. They might feel they won’t get the same amount of attention or love from their parent.
However challenging being a stepparent is, it is just as rewarding.
Talk with your partner. Let them know how you are feeling and why. Ask them for guidance on learning about their children so you can be a good role model.
Get to know your new stepchild and take it slow. This is important. Without bonding, the child will probably never want to accept you as a parent in any form. Don’t rush this, as you don’t want to push the child to do anything they aren’t ready for.
Assure them that their parent loves them just the same as before. Sit down with them and their parent and the both of you explain that just because you are a blended family does not mean they will not receive the same amount of love and attention.
Promise them you aren’t there to replace their parent. Tell them you are here to love their other parent and support the whole family. Explain that you know you won’t ever be their dad or mom, but you want to love them and be there for them in a similar way.
How do I be a successful parent? Make sure you let your child or children know how much you love them, and raise them to love each other. Teach them good morals and to be kind to everyone as well as how to be independent and to make good choices. Always support and help your children when they need it, no matter how old they are.
Does poor parenting affect children? Yes, it does greatly affect children. Poor parenting can lead to children developing depression, anxiety, poor communication, and relationship skills. They tend to misbehave and act out in order to get the attention they are otherwise lacking. They can also tend to be withdrawn and unfocused. It can also lead to future drug or alcohol abuse.