When you are trying to be a better parent there are always things like exercise more patience, and respect your child’s privacy, and take interest in their life, but beyond those basics there are things you can do every day to be a better parent and help your child grow up to be a better adult.
First, read with your child. Even if your child is older, you will find that reading to them or with them allows you to get to spend quality time, and allows you to bond. If you have a teenager, then read a chapter a day in some book they will be interested in, or read about something in history that fascinates them. When your children are too young to read this helps develop their minds, and helps them to spend quality time with you.
Make meals for them. Part of being a good parent is not just feeding your child, clothing them, and housing them, but also spending time with them. A meal time is a good time to talk to your child and learn about their day. If you are perceptive you will be able to see if there is something out of the norm, if their behavior is changing. A parent who sits down to one meal a day with their child notices when their child starts rebelling, or when they are on drugs, and other things you may miss if you do not take time with your child each day.
Make goals not to yell. If you want to be a good parent you need to show unconditional love. Children often equate yelling with the withdrawal of love. It is especially hard for a young child to understand that they are loved despite the fact that you are yelling at them. This fear of withdrawal of love carries over into teenage years. All too often when you have a fight with a teen, if you yell they think they are not loved. So, as a parent, if you want your child to grow up with self esteem, a feeling of belonging, and knowing you care and love them, you need to do your best to refrain from yelling. It can be very difficult. You are, after all human, but to become a better parent you have to make efforts, so make an effort to not yell at your children.
Be there, at the house. A great way to be a better parent is to just be there. Even if you do not talk to your child every time you see them in your home, the security they will feel knowing that you are there is hugely important. If you want to be a good parent you will be there at the cross roads of your child’s life, that means when they walk in the door and when they walk out the door. You can’t know what is going on in your child’s life if you do not see them. How can you know if your teenage daughter is dressing appropriately if you aren’t there when she leaves for school? How can you know your elementary school son is not getting bullied on his way home from school if you do not get home for several hours after he returns? Being there is one of the biggest steps you can take to becoming a better parent.
Help your child be responsible. If you want to be a good parent, you need to not just lay on the sweetness, but also sometimes lay down the law. You have to teach your children to be responsible. A good way to do that is to set up some rules. For example, set a strict curfew for your teenager. Then make sure they know it. If they break it, it is time to lay down the law. You can teach your children how to be responsible by making sure they know the rules and when they do not follow them you follow through with the agreed upon punishment. There should be no excuses for breaking the rules, no matter what the excuse is. This helps your children know that despite traffic, bad road conditions, a car not starting, etc. responsibility is important.