No parent is perfect, but you can be pretty great.
There are no shortcuts for parenting. Learning how to be a good parent and perfecting your parenting skills requires time, effort, and experience learned from making mistakes and figuring out what to do better next time.
While there is no comprehensive list of personality traits that mean someone will be a great parent, there are some key personal attributes all good moms and dads have in common.
At its best, parenting is draining: emotionally, physically, and financially.
Self-doubt and fear are part of the deal. Parenting tests your endurance; it tests your patience. Every single parent will get it wrong somewhere along the way.
There is no escaping imperfection, no matter your parenting style.
There are, however, personality traits which will hugely improve your parenting techniques. The character traits of outstanding parents are not necessarily innate. You aren’t born knowing how to parent. You can learn (or even unlearn) certain skills on your way to effective parenting. You win some, and then there are times you feel like you’re only capable of bad parenting.
If you want to learn how to be a good parent, think of cultivating the necessary parenting traits like you would cultivate muscles: With use and repetition.
What are the 7 personality traits that make the best parents? Glad you asked.
The best moms and dads have a sense of humour. One of the easiest parenting tips? Laugh it up! Humour is everything in parenting and in family time.
It reduces stress, opens dialogue, and promotes ease among family members. Playfulness and fun humanize you, making you more approachable to your kids. Humourless parents tend to magnify worries and burdens which can create unwarranted anxiety, pleasing and co-dependent behaviours. Make time for fun. It matters.
The best parents set consistent boundaries. Think about how you’d feel if you accepted a job without being given guidelines, instruction, or training on how to be successful in your role. You’d be out of sorts, trying anything to figure out how to thrive and get attention from your boss. There are many different parenting styles, but this one is synonymous across the board.
Healthy boundaries are clear and consistent.
Parents who take the time to create and consistently enforce boundaries give their kids the framework for success. Kids will feel safe and cared for. Free for all parenting is terrifying for children.
Children will act out accordingly. Boundaries create greater trust and more calming family environments.
The best moms and dads are fair. Life is unfair to be sure, but fair parenting isn’t focused on making things equal among siblings. Parents who are fair treat each child as an individual.
The fair parent does not adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to parenting. Instead, discipline is thoughtful and less punishment based. Fair parenting is concerned with giving kids the opportunity to learn from their mistakes.
Being fair means listening to your child and being flexible. Kids are naturally rebellious. Being flexible doesn’t mean inconsistent.
It means you are willing to listen to your child, measure circumstances, and make decisions that are in their best interest, not yours. Master fair and your kids will reward you with greater respect and less kick back.
The best parents are secure enough that they’re willing to sit in discomfort. Watching your children struggle is excruciating. Still, the best parents are willing to sit in their own discomfort. Instead of stepping in to fix or protect their children, they teach their children to use their voices, utilize resources, make mistakes, and look for solutions.
Of course, if a child is truly in need, a parent must step in. However, the best parents allow their child to fail, to learn from their mistakes, to solve their own problems, and self-soothe. They empower their kids to speak for themselves.
Kids need to feel the entire rainbow of emotions — from joy, connection and accomplishment to failure, loneliness, and despair — so they learn how to cope as adults. Problem-solving, accountability, and resiliency are crucial to self-sufficiency later in life.
While it may seem like torture to watch your child in distress, often the most loving thing a parent can do is keep their own emotions in check while they give their child tools to figure things out for themselves.
Men and women who make the best moms and dads are confident in who they are and OK with being imperfect. Perfectionism creates a vicious circle of stress and anxiety. Perfectionists often need to please others — I’m “good” if people like me and “bad” if people don’t.
Who can enjoy the messiness of family life with this conditional self-worth? The best parents know they do not have to be wise, in control, and perfect all the time.
They know weak moments do not equate to failure. They do not need to use beautiful homes, picture-perfect meals, enviable vacations, lean bodies, or angelic children to validate their self-worth. Having the courage to embrace your messy, unpredictable, imperfect life gives your children permission to do the same.
Self-acceptance is a gift. Can there be anything better than being comfortable in one’s own skin?
The best parents forgive. Anyone can tell you forgiveness isn’t easy. Hanging onto anger, whether it is at your kids, your ex, your own parents, or, worst of all, yourself, wreak havoc with your health. Kids who have been raised to let go of resentment and vengeance are better able to move past conflict as adults. They learn that no one is perfect, including themselves.
They learn that they are still lovable despite hurting others. Teaching and modelling forgiveness means kids don’t have to stay stuck in a traumatic situation where they felt wronged. They learn to move out of a victim mentality into a more empowered mindset. Forgiveness improves focus, creativity, and impulse control.
People who refuse to carry the heavy load of anger, rage, bitterness, and resentment have more energy. Give the gift of forgiveness.
You are constantly being watched by your kids. Kids learn more from what you do than what you say, and kids can spot a phony a mile away. Kids, like the rest of us, tend to respect people who live by the words they preach.
Effective parents know this. They know that modelling positive behaviour requires effort and self-control and are willing to put in that kind of self-restraint. If you value respect, honesty, altruism, friendliness, unconditional love, and a strong work ethic, you must demonstrate these characteristics at home.
Modelling positive behaviours influences how children grow and develop. It influences their behaviour in school, at home, and in relationships. A parent’s positive modelling has the potential to impact a family’s legacy for generations to come. Remember, what goes around, comes around generation after generation.
There are no parenting shortcuts or easy way outs, but the personality traits of the best parents can be learned and honed with commitment and practice.
Putting time and effort in while your children are young saves drama later. The payoff for your efforts may not reveal itself immediately — in fact, the payoff may not come for years — but witnessing your kids become healthy, independent adults that you enjoy and admire is worth the work.