Be a parent who makes your child feel more safe and secure and less responsible for changes in family life.

Envision the best, most rewarding relationship between you and your child. Most parents prefer a relationship that goes well beyond meeting the basic needs of a child for survival. Children crave a solid and loving relationship with both coParents.  You can certainly hold up your end by meeting your responsibilities, nurturing your child, and reducing the tension that exists between you and the other parent.

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Consider the four components of good parenting:

  • Awareness. A parent knows the stages of child development.  A parent is aware of what goes on in the child’s world. A parent checks in with teachers, coaches, and other mentors. A parent spends time on the child’s turf and knows the people most closely associating with the child.
  • Involvement.  A parent participates in the child’s life at play, school, activities and unstructured time. A parent reads stories with the child, works on homework and projects, attends events important to the child, and sometimes just hangs out with the child.
  • Consistency.  A parent’s behavior is predictable. A parent keeps his or her word to the child and does not over-promise.  The parent regularly spends time with the child and sees this commitment as necessary for the security of the child rather than the convenience of the parent. A parent focuses on time together as addressing an important need of the child rather than the parent’s right to access to the child.
  • Encouragement. A parent responds to the child’s emotional needs by expressing affection, encouraging the child to try new things, and praising the child’s accomplishments. A parent listens to what the child says as a unique expression of thoughts and feelings the child is entitled to have without judging or diminishing them.

About Kathleen Bird

Kathleen Bird, JD is a mediator, parent educator, former judge, and family lawyer. Her book, Self-Centered Co-Parenting, is the result of her experience working with thousands of frustrated parents to find a self-empowering method for quality parenting and decision-making.