When you think of an effective parent, what characteristics come to mind? You probably envision someone loving, patient, and kind. But research shows that there are many other qualities in the most outstanding parents. The following 20 characteristics are hallmarks of excellent parenting:
1) They set clear expectations for their children.
Children who know what is expected of them are less likely to act in ways that will lead to trouble.
2) They talk through problems with their children.
Open communication about issues helps kids learn how to handle different situations themselves instead of looking for their parents’ help all the time.
3) They spend time with their kids.
A study published in American Sociological Review found that parents who have frequent, child-centered discussions with their kids are more likely to have young adults who behave responsibly.
4) They praise effort instead of smarts.
Children should know that they are loved no matter what. However, praise should be based on how hard they tried rather than just being proud of them. The latter can lead to giving up when problems arise for fear of not meeting expectations.
5) They take an interest in their children’s activities at school.
Instead of asking about the latest gossip or sports score, ask your child about his or her day. This will establish a good foundation for communication and trust at home while also helping you understand what is going on in your child’s life.
6) They set and maintain consistent rules.
Children who know what is expected of them are more likely to behave accordingly. Rules that aren’t enforced all the time (or aren’t enforced with everyone) will be difficult for children to follow, too.
7) They help instill a sense of responsibility from an early age.
Kindergartners can help pick up their toys, grade-schoolers can begin to do household chores, and teenagers can care for younger siblings. As children get older, they can be made to take more responsibility for helping out at home says Amy of AmyandRose.
8) They make their children feel like they can accomplish anything.
Children with this mindset will be more likely to do their best and take risks. Setting realistic expectations is crucial, though: studies show that parents who believe their kids can do great things were more likely to have high-achieving students themselves.
9) They help teach emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence refers to the ability of individuals (usually children) to express their emotions and recognize the emotions of others while working through issues that may arise daily. This gives rise to better problem-solving skills and an overall healthy coping mechanism for inevitable difficult situations.
10) They make time for family meals and other activities as a group.
Setting aside time each day or week to be together as a family, whether it’s eating dinner at the table or playing games before bedtime, helps kids feel comfortable at home. It also shows them that they are loved unconditionally. Studies have shown that engaging in family activities can have positive impacts on school achievement.
12) Their relationship with each other is healthy.
Studies have shown that even if parents aren’t married, being involved with someone who sets a good example positively influences a child’s behavior through modeling.
13) They don’t push their kids to achieve before they’re ready.
Children should be allowed the time and space to develop at their own pace. This may mean having a child who struggles with reading is allowed to struggle. It also means that his or her accomplishment is celebrated when he improves.
14) They emphasize the importance of hard work over innate abilities.
A study in the Journal of Educational Psychology showed that children whose parents emphasized effort were more likely to have higher grade-point averages than those whose parents said IQ determining success.
15) They always try positive reinforcement before negative consequences.
This will teach children how to handle emotions and reward them for good behavior instead of punishing them for bad. Positive reinforcement helps foster relationships and motivation to keep making progress.
16) They work together to overcome challenges, whether big or small.
A 2014 study in the journal Child Development found that when mothers and fathers resolved difficulties together, children had better mental health. When parents simply compromised for each other’s sake, kids had more anxiety.
17) They can set limits without coming off as too critical.
Studies have shown that parents who are warm toward their kids and set age-appropriate boundaries tend to have the most successful children. Kids whose self-control is not hindered by emotional outbursts at home are also better behaved.
18) They take time out of their busy schedules for ‘date night’ with their partner.
The time parents spend together helps foster a healthy relationship that can influence children in positive ways. Having parent-child relationships that are based on trust rather than fear is crucial for building self-confidence in young children.
19) They encourage their kids to do things they enjoy — even if they don’t excel in them.
Whether it’s playing the piano, joining the school band, or playing sports. Children with involved parents are more likely to stay active. They are also less likely to struggle in school or develop behavior problems.
20) They make sure not to trash talk family members.
Parents should know that what they say affects how kids view themselves. Children who hear derogatory remarks about specific family members may feel more ashamed of them or feel ashamed to be related.
Parents play a significant role in shaping their children’s futures. They should always strive to be the best parents possible by modeling good behavior for their kids and imparting moral education.
Amy has a wealth of parenting experience, from when she was an expectant mother with her own toddler, to now being the parent of both a teenager and preschooler. Her blog AmyandRose is aimed at simplifying life for new parents as they navigate their way through parenthood while balancing other aspects in life. Follow AmyandRose on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest.