Being a responsible parent is one of the most important jobs you will ever have. It can be challenging, but it is also very rewarding. This article will discuss what responsible parenting is and how to know if you are being a responsible parent. We will also discuss some of the challenges and responsibilities that come with being a responsible parent. If you are looking for guidance on being a better parent, then this article is for you!
It’s beyond difficult to trust that you are the best version of yourself at all times, especially when it comes to being a responsible parent. This is exactly why it is integral to find a sounding board you can trust, whether it’s a fellow parent, your partner, an educator, or your own parent! Find someone who has the same values and priorities when it comes to parenting, and let them help you stay on track.
Being a responsible parent can be difficult, but that’s not to say it’s more complex than being a parent of any other line of thought. Regarding responsible parenting, the biggest challenge is knowing when to set down rules or boundaries while ensuring your children understand why this is happening. Saying no to your children is challenging but communicating the reasoning behind it to the little ones makes it slightly easier (although that in itself is a tough challenge!
Being a responsible parent results in confidence. This confidence can be seen through the behaviors and attitudes of your children as well as your reactions in difficult situations. Children raised with responsible parents display confidence in asking for help, emotional regulation, and boundaries. Parents who practice responsible parenthood are confident in knowing and trusting that their children can and will actively communicate with them.
Practice what you preach
Practicing what you preach is one of the most essential duties of a mother and the duties of a father. It requires patience and dedication to be able to act actively and respond the way you should rather than the way you want. Children actively mirror their parents, even when specifically told not to.
Whether you believe it or not, children know when you’re only giving them 10% of your attention. They know when you’re multitasking and when you aren’t actively listening. Give your child the confidence that you are listening, that you care and that they matter simply by hearing them with more than your ears. Use your body language, expression, and tone to reassure your child that they are being heard actively.
Setting rules never gets easier because, well, no one wants to be the bad guy. The thing is, though, it’ll be worse if you don’t. The key is communicating the why to your children. For instance, you place a rule for your children that they must play educational games for 20 minutes before playing their favorite games.
Naturally, the child will feel upset, confused, and possibly angry to have their routine suddenly changed for no fault of their own. When parents sit down with their children and explain that it is for their education, health, and improvement (in child-friendly terms), the child is more likely to actively adjust and respect the new rules.
It takes a lot of guts to admit when you're wrong, but at the end of the day, it benefits everyone involved. It shows your children that making mistakes is okay, having lapses in judgment is okay, and changing your mind on something is okay. This builds character and helps your child believe that being wrong truly isn't the end of the world; after all, their parents do it.
Many parents and individuals believe that they will be perceived as less by making mistakes in front of their children. This is highly untrue; in fact, all it does is help normalize the most human thing about us — making mistakes! It helps your child feel less ashamed of themselves when they make mistakes, as they will mirror your positive attitude towards the issue.
FAQ #1: My child keeps throwing tantrums when I set down rules, what do I do?
Communication is truly key. It happened to all of us; our parents would suddenly turn off the telly or take away our video games and tell us that we've been spending too much time on them and that they've had enough. Consequently, we would get upset. On the other hand, if our parents had told us before TV time started that we had 30 minutes and that they would let us know when we had 5 minutes left, we wouldn't have been as upset when it was time to turn it off.
Let's be honest here: Do you want to listen to anyone when you're upset, even when the other person tells you they have a solution? Probably not, and the fact that they are telling you that they can fix the situation you are upset about could potentially trigger your emotions further. Kids feel the same way. Treat your child like you would anyone else and ask them how you can help. If they can't answer you, offer options, for example, "I can see that you are upset right now; Mommy can stay here and listen, give you a hug, or help you calm down. Tell me which one." If your child is still unable to answer you, just give them your presence. They will come to you when they are ready.
Think about it, would you want to be hugged by someone you don't know or barely recognize? I doubt it. Children, although they are children, have a stronger sense of what they need and want than adults. Our gut feelings are clouded by "What if" and "How will it look." Your child is building their boundaries and confidence in saying no while practicing listening to their gut feelings. Let them be and if possible, affirm their behavior.
Responsible parenting sometimes means rebuilding your characteristics to fit the form of parenting you are practicing.
The following characteristics often define responsible parents:
Having them all and actively practicing them in your day-to-day parenting may seem impossible. But, it's always better to work toward building a particular characteristic than blowing it off completely.
Being a responsible parent means setting goals for yourself. Whether it’s “I will communicate more effectively with my child today” or “I will prioritize my mental health while parenting today.” Setting an expectation or goal for yourself helps you stay consistent in your beliefs, actions, and values.
There are many ways to be responsible parents, but it starts with being honest with ourselves. Take some time to evaluate how we were parented, what worked and didn't work for us, and how that has made us into the people, we are today. From there, we can start making small changes in our parenting styles that will impact our children.
Here are some questions to get you started:
Although the responsibilities of a parent may seem obvious, some things tend to slip through the cracks due to the numerous responsibility a parent must manage.
The top 10 responsibilities that should be made a priority include:
Practicing the roles of responsible parenthood can get hard when you feel overwhelmed with all the things you are responsible for. In those moments, take a deep breath, remember your top 10s, and keep going.
Parents tend to forget that although they are now responsible for a little human, their own emotions, needs, and wants still need attention. Being a primary caretaker doesn't relinquish your own needs and wants. Paying attention to what you need to thrive is key to being the parent you want to be for your child.
When it comes to responsible parenting, no one answer or solution fits all families. What matters most is that you are doing what works best for your children and your family dynamic. If you ever have doubts about being a responsible parent, ask yourself if your decisions align with your child's best interests. If they are, then chances are you're doing something right. Responsible parenting is not easy, but it is worth it. Your children will thank you for it someday.
If you liked this article, be sure to check out our other articles for more tips and advice on responsible parenting.