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What makes you feel you're a "good" parent?

(11 Posts)
Earlybird Mon 05-Jun-06 11:11:57

Curious to know what makes you feel you're being the kind of parent you want to be? Is it a sense of feeling satisfied knowing you've done your best under the circumstances? Having a happy child? Having friends/family/school who give good feedback about your child? Something else?

I realised this morning that I depend far too much on dd's feedback/reactions. In simple terms, if she's happy/chirpy, then I think I'm getting it right. If she moans/groans and is grumpy, I can far too easily feel guilty or feel if somehow her unhappiness is due to a failing on my part. I don't seem to have the ability to shrug it off, and feel confident in the knowledge that I'm getting it right far more than I get it wrong.

Not to go too deep, but I think maybe it comes from having completely self-absorbed parents who ruled with a rod of iron, didn't offer much loving support, and basically expected us to get on with it and not bother them. With dd, I think I've gone to the opposite extreme and find myself feeling really down when she complains or is negative in spite of my good intentions/efforts.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Are you susceptible to this too, and how do you deal with it?

muma3 Mon 05-Jun-06 11:24:57

i know what you mean by : if any of my girls are down in the dumps or unwell i feel useless and i suppose i do feel like i have failed them. i think alot of it is just frustration at not being able to keep them happy permenatly but it takes me a second to realise that when they are upset or poorly that there really isnt much i can do and that i do try my best.

i feel a sense of acheivement and proud of myself when they are fed and watered , had play time or story time , then cuddling up in bed they tell me how much they love me . i get great pleasure from them being comfortable and not longing for anything .

there is great pressure to be perfect but like evrything in life there is ups and down and i just take them as they come really and as long i try hard to look after my daughters in the best way i can then when something does go wrong i can deal with it better iyswim?

WelshBoris Mon 05-Jun-06 11:29:26

Shes happy Im happy

tenalady Mon 05-Jun-06 11:30:24

Ive done my best under the circumstances. My opinion of good parenting skills are lots of love, kisses and cuddles and a sharp tongue as and when required.

Medulla Mon 05-Jun-06 11:37:13

I think firm but fair and consistent discipline combined with attention, love, cuddles, kisses and having fun. My children seem to thrive on routine and but I know that's not for all children. Also having clear boundaries and sticking to them. This is all my ideal style of parenting and I try to stick to it but that's not always the case.

I don't think I do feel guilty when she is feeling sad, the times I feel guilty are when I am finding being a mum boring, and not stimulating enough. My downfall is being too bothered by the opinions of others! Not just in parenting. It's so silly but I can't help it.

Earlybird Mon 05-Jun-06 11:51:16

Ah but Welshboris - that's part of the problem! If she's happy, all well and good. If she's unhappy - how do you know that she's unreasonable/just having a bad day, or is it down to some larger failing on my part that needs to be examined/addressed?

DD is very often a loving/happy/cuddly child, but is already adept at saying "but it wasn't fun this half term mummy" or "you didn't play with me mummy" etc (trivial examples, I know), which definitely implies that it's my "fault". Now just because she "blames" me, doesn't mean I have to accept it, I know.

But, I really have little ability to differentiate between feeling confident with the kind of parent I am (and knowing that it's a part of life, and sometimes dd is going to be unhappy), and thinking I'm getting it "wrong", it's making my dd unhappy, and I need to make changes.

Enid Mon 05-Jun-06 11:52:56

dd1 can be very moody and grumpy

dd2 is most always sunny

dd3 is either crying or beaming

if I gauged success as a parent by their reactions I would be very confused indeed

Tommy Mon 05-Jun-06 11:58:20

don't know whether it's a sign of good parenting but I'm always really proud when the DSs are polite and use good manners - makes me feel like I must be doing something right!

Earlybird Mon 05-Jun-06 11:59:44

That's a good point Enid. Sometimes it's hard to know when it's just a child's basic personality shining through (happy, grumpy, etc), or a foul/funny mood, or when their mood/behaviour is in response to their surroundings/influences.

One of the things that gets to me is her perception that I haven't played with her much - when, in fact, I have! But maybe I need to be able to shrug and know that she probably begrudges me any time I not at her beck and call...

Enid Mon 05-Jun-06 12:02:42

yes its true

if you are worried set the clock and play with her exclusively for 30 mins

then you know you have done it and can get on with the rest of life

FloatingOnTheMed Mon 05-Jun-06 12:15:34

Earlybird, i feel similarly to you when it comes to playing with dd & feeling guilty if it seems like i haven't. It could be because i had a v distant mum myself (due to mental illness) and me and dsis were left to ourselves playing a lot of the time. Maybe. Or it could just be the pressure put on us these days to be everything to our LOs, or just that i know too much about child development/psychology so i am paranoid all the time that i am going to do something that will mess her up. I know i am completely paranoid that she will grow up with the same issues i have (had). I do wonder though Earlybird is if we are paranoid about that ourselves will that mean our LOs will actually pick up on that thus actually creating what we don't want? I sometimes wonder if i am over apologetic & explanatory when i can't be with dd, or on the flip side, sneaky with it - quickly sneak on here for eg when i've actually told her i'm having a quick bath!

Dd being happy goes without saying, but i am quite to realise that i also feel good as a parent if dd is obedient & 'good', as in, doing what i tell her - eg one of her strong points is when we're out & about she more or less sticks by me, is a total angel in the supermarket, etc etc. It makes me feel like i must be doing something right the rest of the time to have her comply in a potentially chaotic situation.
This will sound ridiculous & completely unfair on those parents who simply aren't able, but another thing that makes me feel like a good parent is that i know absolutely everything she knows/comes across/talks about/likes etc. This is down to being a full time SAHM & single mum of course, and the fact that she's only 2.9, but I feel good that i connect enough with her & her world to be completely in touch with everything that comes her way, and i love it that i manage to be enthusiastic most of the time however bored i am of something! Again, this might be because my mum wasn't connected in the same way as we were growing up so it is important to me that i am with dd. I worry about having to let go somewhat when she starts school.

Can't think of anything else right now but it is an interesting & eye-opening question, it is making me question & challenge my ideas iykwim.

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