Parenting is a tough and happy experience and a rewarding responsibility. While anyone can parent a child, it takes a special type of person to be a great parent. A great parent has certain desirable attributes and skills that can make parenting easier, mutually beneficial, and successful. Even with the suggested parental attributes below, parenting is still difficult and stressful. But it can also be wonderful, inspiring, and fantastic.
What it takes to be a parent isn't the same for everyone. While there are common attributes that would be helpful, it is wholly dependent on your and your child's needs. Below is a list of parenting skills and personality traits that can lead you down the path to a great parenting experience. While the below list may seem overwhelming, remember that all this things are attainable. Some are born with these traits, and some develop them through hard work. Either way, consider parenthood a journey of self-discovery.
Patient: Patience is key to parenting. Be patient with yourself and with your child. Remember that this is a learning experience for you, also. You're not going to have all the answers as soon as you're pregnant or deliver your baby. Take it one step at a time. When it comes to being patient with your child, it's important to maintaining harmony in the home. As your child ages, s/he will want to do things without your help. While it may take a longer time to accomplish a simple goal, like tying shoes, picking out an outfit, or completing a household chore, it's a crucial time in your child's development. Be patient and your nerves will thank you.
Forgiving: Along the parenting road, there will be many opportunities for you to forgive. A lot of times, patience goes hand in hand with forgiveness. This is because you'll have to find the energy to forgive yourself for your many parenting mistakes, and there will be many. But be reassured that every parent makes mistakes. Forgive yourself, learn from your mistakes, and move forward with confidence. You'll also need to forgive your child, especially as s/he ages. The closer your child gets to being a teenager, the more mistakes everyone will make. Forgive instantly and regularly.
Empathetic: Empathy requires you to try to understand your child's pain, frustration, joy, happiness, and every other feeling or emotion. It's more than just having sympathy. It's about making the effort to feel what s/he is feeling. Developing empathy is the best way to make your child feel comfortable speaking with you about problems or issues. Throughout the parenting journey, remember that even if a negative reaction seems trivial or unwarranted, it needs to be validated. Not being empathetic to someone's emotions or fears can hurt any relationship, including the parent-child relationship.
Loving: This is more than just feeling love for your child. It's about expressing it, so s/he knows without ever doubting. There are many ways to express love--through both words and actions. Make sure you express your love often, consistently, and regularly. Doing so encourages your child to do the same.
Encouraging: Encouraging your child--from infancy to adulthood--is an essential part of parenthood. It will start with encouraging your baby to roll, smile, and laugh. Then it will graduate into encouraging him/her to speak and walk, and then to make friends and get good grades. All your life you will be encouraging your child to be a better, more dedicated person--someone who is kind, understanding, and hardworking. Also, you encourage yourself when you encourage your child. Be a great example.
Along with all the qualities and attributes listed above, there are a few more things to consider while exploring the option of parenting. The first thing you'll need to figure out is if you'll work or how you'll have an income. This is especially true for single parents, who will also need to look into daycare. After you've figured out your income, you'll need to provide a safe shelter for your family, as well as food and clothing. While being a parent costs money, it shouldn't necessarily be a deciding factor in your decision. There are local charities and government assistance programs that can help. That's what they're designed to do. And there is no shame asking for help when you need it.
Parenting is a job for life. Once you're a parent you're always a parent. Even when your child has grown and moved out of your house, s/he will still ask and need advice, encouragement, and love. As a parent, your presence and influence make a difference in your child's life--and in your own. If you don't feel up to par for parenthood right now, remember that being a good parent is a progression. Each day you'll learn what to do and what not to do, the ins and outs. Soon, you'll be comfortable in your parenting role.