It is true. Parenting is the most diffcult and challenging job that anyone will ever do. Many have often followed that with..."but the most rewarding." Well, it can be, but not always. Culturally speaking, a lot of false expectations are put on parents. Which ends up putting even more pressure on parents to be "good parents." All despite the fact, that this means something different for everyone.
For some this just means, not being like their parents. Whether, they were too strict or too lenient, prone to anger even violence or their depression limited their time and attention. Perhaps, they had an addiction that kept them trapped in an unhealthy lifestyle or lead to jail or even death. Whatever may be the case, doing something different seems to be enough.
In the end, we really can't judge each other for how any family parents. Especially, in a single moment. All parents/caregivers, for the most part, are just trying to do their best. They are doing what they are capable of doing, for that day.
My idea of "good parenting" is limited. First, you gotta love your kid. Second, make attempts to show that you love them, the best way you can, even if they don't understand or appreciate it. Third, strive to do better. Not just better than your parents or whomever raised you, but better than yourself. If, you have or are doing all (3), which is likely since you are reading this, then you are a good parent.
A huge part of being a good parent, means not always doing what makes your child happy. For example, time outs, groundings, taking stuff away, giving them chores, cooking healthy meals, going to the doctor, etc. These aren't typically things your child(ren) will tell you in the moment "Gee, thanks." There is a chance afterwards or when they are much older, they might tell you "Thanks for trying to be a good parent, and you did your best." In the end, that is what we all are trying to do, parents and kids, just our best.
So, FORGIVE yourself and your kid(s). For spilling milk (for the fourth time that day), for yelling at them even though you might know it doesn't clean the milk up or teach them how to do it for themselves or get them to be any less of a kid. For having any kind of strong reaction to your child doing the very thing they are expected to do for whatever age they are, or for something yourself did at a similar age.
Parenting causes a lot of anxiety, fear, frustration and overall heart-ache. Simple things, like, not being able to save them from their first really bad decision, heart ache, getting physcially hurt, doing poorly on a test, or them getting disappointed by others. Now is the time to talk about being an effective parent. This is very different than being a good parent. Almost everyone, is a good parent. However, many are not effective parents.
This is often due to the many, many emotions involved in parenting. Parents are humans, despite what some of your teenagers say. Part of the reason parents make ineffective parenting decision is due to not knowing what else to do. A general lack of knowledge. Which is expected, the old saying "kids don't come with instructions," sadly is too accurate. Not only does parenting have a steep learning curve, but things are always changing. Not only with society, but what is considered "best practice" in parenting, but also your child. Things are constantly changing with your child and therefore your parenting.
Back to my point about emotions. The other reason for ineffective parenting, is reactivity. Look at the resource link to ScreamFree Parenting for more in-depth information. It is natural that our children upset us, family is particularly good at that. As well as, anyone that reminds us of family. I recall a quote that "Having a child is like watching your heart walking around."-Author unknown. In our own way, we invest too much in our children.
Your child acting like a child does not speak to you being a "good parent." Remember that list? It did not include your child's behavior. Neither does being an effective parent. Being a good parent is all about your motives. Being an effective parent and how you express and follow through with those motives.
For example: my oldest has ADHD. I love him, always have. However, I have not always loved being his parent. Especially, when he was younger, I found him to be quite difficult. There were times I had trouble "feeling the love" for him, because of our challenges. See how I said "OUR" challenges. He wasn't alone, nor us as his parents. Any challenge in a family, is a challenge for the family.
The thing that helped me with this, was to tell myself the things I appreciated about him, or how the things that were challening about him would serve him in the future. Such as, he will be a great leader someday, he is funny, we love his stories, he has a lots of charm...we often joke that he will take over the world by being a CEO at a big corporation. These affirmations about him, especially when he was at his most trying, elevated my love for him and made it easier to enjoy him.
This is one of the things he needs most from me, to be able to love him and show him that love. If I am constantly begrudging him, I am not actively loving him. Then I am only adding to his challenges and becoming another obstacle in his life. It will be a lot harder for him to reach his potential, if I stand in his way by resenting him for being himself, for his behaivor, and for being a kid.
The next big thing he needs from me is to be a calm parent. Parents that are most effetive, are parents that stay CALM. When your toddler or teenager, or even adult-child, has an outburst, it won't be lessened by you matching it. Not to say your won't have an emotional response, but to parent reactively won't help you or your child.
Our children need us to be able to be calm, consistent, and stable. In the Suggested Resource section, you will find links to useful websites, readings, and additional community services. These have in-depth information about specific parenting needs and concerns. In sessions, we would explore the topics most relevant to your family. Utilizing these resources as supports, on your family's journey to improving your quality of life. With the goal of realizing how you are already a good parent and to improve your effectiveness as a parent. Focusing on the overall positivity and health of your relationship with your child(ren).