Points of View, What does successful parenting look like?

Possible pull-quote: “Starting with the end result, a successful parent is one who produces a reliable, responsible, respectful, resilient, loving human being.”

By Gaye Bunderson

Here’s a revelation: I was raised by two flawed human beings. And guess what? So were you! Looking back over the course of my life, I’d have to say that the number of perfect people I’ve met – including parents – has been, uh…none. And that includes me. I decided for this issue to ask some of my current and former writers (for this and another publication) to give their opinion about what makes for a successful parent. I mean, as flawed as we all are, we can still be pretty darn good sometimes, right?

While I certainly don’t consider myself an expert in parenting, I do have a lot of street skills in this area since I have four little ones. The first ingredient to being a good parent is to LIKE being a parent. I don’t think being a parent is for everyone. And there are certainly times when I envy my “non-parent” friends. But there are also those sweet moments when my daughters smile at me, or give me hugs, or when my teenage son does something kind for someone else without me asking, and those moments light up my life like the first rays of sunshine in the morning and make all my cares and worries go away. There are really no comparisons to other sources of pride and happiness that I have experienced.
The next ingredient to being a good parent is to actually spend some time parenting. This not only includes the functional stuff like feeding them and getting them ready for school, etc. Kids spell love as T-I-M-E. Spend time with them, lots of it, doing things they like. Be quick to drop something more important to play a board game where the rules are bent in favor of the kid, to jump on the trampoline with them, to go on bike rides, to go to the park, to listen to stories about their friends. What I’ve found is a lot of times you can respond to invitations for time with about 5 or 10 minutes and they’ve filled their canteen and are ready to move on to something else, and you can get back to whatever you were doing that you felt was more important.
Last, be real. Admit when you make mistakes. Teach them it’s okay to be imperfect as long as you learn from your imperfections. Like anything in life, if you’re going to do it, you might as well have a little fun doing it. Parenting is no exception!
Luke Erickson, Ph.D.
Associate professor
of personal finance for UI

What makes a successful parent? Being brave enough to hold the mirror to yourself to determine the aspects of yourself and your history you want to pass forward, and strong enough to heal the trauma and patterns you want to leave in the past. Also, forgiving yourself for being a flawed human, and giving your children permission to do the same. And never being too cool to answer the pretend phone your toddler hands you.
Macaile Hutt
Occupational therapist
for children in Star

Play with your children, especially in the out-of-doors.
Mary Ann Wilcox
Owner of Mary Ann’s Cupboards

A successful parent is one that treats their child as just that, their child, and does not try to be their friend.
A successful parent is one that raises a child to be a contributing part of society, not a taker.
Successful parents disciple their children day and night, as Scripture says, so they will grow to know, love, and obey the Lord.
Successful parents know that it is okay to say no to their child and allow their child to experience consequences (if not harmful) for irresponsible actions.
Successful parenting means sometimes allowing a child to learn from their mistakes, but being there to guide and direct after the fact.
Roxanne Drury
Retired preschool teacher
with a teaching certificate in
Early Childhood Education

Starting with the end result, a successful parent is one who produces a reliable, responsible, respectful, resilient, loving human being. This person creates boundaries and serves reasonable consequences in order to teach a child to use their power appropriately. Such parents encourage a child to be their own person rather than a reflection of them. Listening to a child and honoring that their feelings might be different from theirs assists a child in feeling valued. Ultimately the most valuable thing a parent can give a child is connection. Children who feel connected also feel loved. Children who feel loved are more likely to trust themselves, and therefore make better choices for their lives.
Sandy McDaniel
Author of 5 books,
founder of ParentingSOS.com

Raising children is a complicated journey of challenges and delights. There’s no one recipe for doing it right. Still, certain ingredients are vital to being a successful parent. They include:

  1. Providing unconditional love.
  2. Being a good listener.
  3. Serving as a strong role model for children.
  4. Making time for fun.
  5. Setting limits.
  6. Helping children develop independence.
  7. Teaching children responsibility.
  8. Providing support and guidance as needed.
    These eight ingredients are a recipe for a successful parent.
    Cara Johnson-Bader
    V.P. of Marketing &
    Parent Experiences
    at New Horizon Academy

A successful parent is one who relies completely on the Lord for guidance – through prayer, a reliance on His Word, and by His power. If we raise our kids to be successful in this world alone, we have failed. Their souls are eternal and only their understanding of the gospel will matter when all is said and done.
Bethany Riehl
Writer and parent
in Meridian

Here are 5 tenets of successful parenting aimed at adolescents, and ones I have regularly referred to over the past 35 years.

  1. Set consistent guidelines/boundaries and adhere to them. Your “no” means “no.”
  2. Respect their curiosity, opinions and quest to understand the world and their place in it.
  3. We always say parents should “track” their teens. Meaning the parent knows the kid – who his friends are, their interests, how they are doing in school etc. “Track” means the parent is showing genuine interest in the kid without being intrusive.
  4. Make time for the teen but recognize that the kid needs privacy and that the peer group increasingly becomes most important. Still, invite the kid to dinner but understand that 9 out of 10 times the answer will be no. But they love and appreciate all 10 invites.
  5. Allow the kid to stumble and have faith that they will learn from their mistakes. This encourages independence and prepares the kid for the adult world.
    Robert Rhodes, LCSW
    Adolescent &
    family counselor in Boise

Share this article!

Leave a Comment

twelve − eleven =