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Parenting 101: What is Responsible Parenting?
There is no such thing as a perfect parent. You can try as hard as you can, but humans simply aren’t designed to be perfect, and parents, being humans, aren’t expected to be perfect. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot be the perfect parent to your children. You may not be perfect, but you can be a good, responsible parent that teaches your kids how to love, how to be patient, how to be humble, how to be strong, and all the other qualities they need.
As your kids grow up, they become their own person with their own thoughts, their own beliefs, and their own values. As parents, the most you can do is guide them to being a good human being who can be independent, know right from wrong, and be able to think for themselves. But, with so many parenting styles, how is a parent to know if they’re doing a good job or if they have good parenting skills?
Simple, it all falls under responsible parenthood. In this article, we will discuss what responsible parenting means, the general good parenting qualities parents should have, and how responsible parenthood and family planning also tie in with each other.
What is It?
What is responsible parenting? Is it just being a responsible adult that has the ability to raise children? Truthfully, it is that and so much more. After all, anyone can raise a child. In order to be a responsible parent, one must go beyond simply meeting the needs of their children and raising them properly.
Responsible parenting, to put things simply, is being able to recognize your child's needs and wants and being able to support them in achieving these things. Responsible parenthood also has to do with parents aiding their children to becoming happy, responsible adults.
In line with a parent’s personal goals and concerns for their family life, responsible parenthood also means that parents must work together to establish and attain the ideal number of children. This isn’t often easy but that’s where responsible parenthood and family planning tie up. This means that, to be responsible parents, the parents must plan out and space out their children so that they can be sure that they can provide their children the best possible lives, homes, scenarios, and everything else.
Principles of A Responsible Parent
It may take a village to raise a child, but raising your child right starts with you. So, we’ve listed down some of the good parenting skills and principles to keep in mind if you wish to continue or start partaking in responsible parenting.
What you do matters
This is perhaps one of the top principles to keep in mind, especially children learn a lot from their parents. A child’s brain is like a sponge and they tend to soak in everything they see you do and everything you say. So, what you do matters, and part of responsible parenthood is making sure that what your child sees from you is something you’re okay with them imitating.
You shouldn’t smother or be too loving
What is responsible parenting? You would think that means showing your child all the love in the world. Now, while that’s true, it’s also true that parents smothering their kids with love or coddling them too much can have negative effects on them too.
Every parent loves their child, but no parent wants their child to grow up spoiled and overly dependent. By giving them too much love or being too lenient with them, parents give kids the avenue to become spoiled so parents need to be careful when it comes to this.
This is probably one of the most underrated principles as parents often forget how important it is to be involved and stay involved in their kid’s lives. A good parenting skill to have is the ability to be present, whether physically, mentally, or emotionally. After all, children will first turn to their parents for comfort and support.
Most parents are busy juggling work and family these days, however, by spending even 15 minutes uninterrupted with your children, you give them the confidence and the calm they need since it reassures them that you are there, you are present and you are involved.
Adapt your parenting style to your child
Every child is different. So, you can’t expect to use the same parenting style on all your children as this may not be the best parenting style for them. Much like how they learn in school, every kid is different and they each learn things differently. Parents will need to keep track of their kid’s development pace and also learn and understand that child’s milestones. This can help you understand how to be a better parent to your child.
Set rules and explain them
Each and every parent has their own set of rules. Rules are necessary and they help teach children about boundaries and restrictions, and it helps to ensure that they know how to regulate their behavior too. Responsible parenting means being able to put your foot down when it comes to rules and making sure that the children know about the value of punishments and rewards should they break or follow the rules.
Of course, children won’t always understand the need for such rules all the time so it’s important that parents figure out how to communicate these with them so that they do understand and they see clear expectations and boundaries. Communication is key here and it will be something you, as parents, will also need to practice or keep in check.
Support your child’s independence
One of the good parenting skills that we also often forget about is having the ability to support your child’s independence. Often, parents want to fix everything for their kids, coddle them, and make them know that they are present. While that’s a great trait, it also hinders a child’s independence.
As a responsible parent, you will need to teach your child what self control is like, encourage them to solve their problems by themselves, and push them to overcome things on their own. Of course it doesn’t hurt to be nearby so you can lend a helping hand when needed, however, teaching a child to be independent also teaches them how to make their own decisions, how to take responsibility for them, and how to solve their own problems - traits that they will need as they grow older.
Show your child you respect them
Parents are meant to be a child’s parents first and friends second. However, this doesn’t mean that a child should not be shown respect or should not be treated with respect. Oftentimes, parents dismiss what their kids say or do and this, although common especially in the terrible twos or when parents are busy juggling two things at once, is not a show of respect and it may make a child feel unseen or undervalued.
As growing children who learn most of what they know from you, the parent, one of the key principles to have is to show them respect. By doing so, you also teach them how feel respected, valued, and seen, all while teaching them how to respect someone else.
You can do this by simply treating them kindly, by hearing their opinions, ideas, and views (even the silly nonsensical ones), and by speaking to them like polite adults. In short, if you want them to treat others with kindness and respect, you must first show them the value of being respected and how to treat someone with respect.
Good Qualities to Have
Every parent has different qualities but are there good parenting qualities a parent must have to partake in responsible parenting? The answer to that is of course! We’ve listed some of them below:
The size of the family
A family's size should be decided by both parents. A lot of parents often say that they would like to have as many children as they could possibly have, but their partner’s views are completely different. When it comes to responsible parenting, parents must decide together how many kids they want and how many kids they can realistically have. This can help set a healthy boundary between parents and help both parents understand their partner’s needs better.
Being responsible parents also means having children when both are physically, emotionally, and mentally ready to have children. Of course, not all pregnancies are planned, but as responsible parents, it’s truly best to be in a situation where both are willing and able to become parents. After all, it’s one thing to get pregnant and go through the beautiful journey of pregnancy, and it’s another to raise another human being.
Planning and Spacing
Planning when to have children and spacing them out may seem unnecessary but it actually proves quite helpful and useful both financially and health wise. By planning and spacing out when to have children, parents can guarantee that the mother is healthy and ready for another child, parents can ensure that all the children get the care, love, and support they need, and overall, it helps parents make sure that they can give their family the best possible life that they can give.
Now that we’ve gone through the good parenting skills, good parenting qualities, and what responsible parenthood looks like, let’s discuss how responsible parenthood and family planning tie together.
As mentioned, one of the good parenting qualities we find important is planning and spacing as this helps parents ensure that they’re financially, emotionally, and mentally ready to have another child. This quality of responsible parenting ties in with family planning as family planning is the process of deciding how many children a person wants to have in the first place. This includes whether or not they want to have any at all and when they want to have them.
Marriage status, job or employment considerations, and financial circumstances are all factors that may affect family planning decisions.
But how does one “plan” for a child? With responsible parenthood comes the idea that you, the would-be parent, are responsible for your body and the possible outcome of intercourse. So, as a responsible parent, if you are not ready for another child just yet (if at all), then it is your responsibility to take the necessary precautions to prevent the pregnancy from happening. These days, there are several ways couples can do this - whether through birth control medication, contraceptive devices, or abstinence.
Being responsible parents is one of the most important responsibilities as responsible citizens and as responsible people since, as parents, you have to make sure that your children not only grow up happy, loved and secure, but that they grow up to be good, responsible people as well. This skill or ability to be responsible parents leads to having children who, down the line, can also grow up to be responsible parents themselves.
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