I've been reading "The 5 Love Languages of Children" and the authors suggest making a list of requirements to be a good parent. The idea being that you can stay focused on meeting those requirements and be assured of being a good parent.
This is HIS personal list: (from page 195 in my copy)
"1. Keep my child's emotional love tank full -- speak the five love languages.
2. Use the most positive ways I can to control my child's behavior: requests, gentle physical manipulation, commands, punishment, and behavior modification.
3. Lovingly discipline my child. Ask, 'What does this child need?' and then go about it logically.
4. Do my best to handle my own anger appropriately and not dump it on my child. Be pleasant but firm.
5. Do my best to train my child to handle anger maturely -- the goal is 16 1/2 years."
I would change #1
from speaking the five love languages to "love unconditionally". I would change #2
to "use gentle discipline". I would add something about treating children with respect and something about knowing what is developmentally appropriate for my child. I'm also not sure how I feel about the "do my best" phrase; of course, we're not perfect, but it kind of feels like an out.
This list is meant to be reassuring, but I kind of feel like it's a tall order. At least when you use Alfie Kohn's idea of unconditional love (which I really liked). And my 4yo's "love tank" seems to empty incredibly fast.
I've been thinking about this "good parent" list for quite a while -- not from the book standpoint, but from hearing compliments get tossed around. After getting used to descriptive praise, "You're such a good mom!" doesn't mean much.
I'd like to be more inclusive in what I think a "good" parent is. Though to be honest, I don't think my list lends itself very well to inclusivity.
I'd love to hear your thoughts.