What Does It REALLY Take to Be a Good Mother?

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It’s very easy to look back on our childhood and criticize our mothers for their parenting style. But once we become mothers, it’s time to stop criticizing our mothers, and start being the best moms that we can be.

But how? With so many beneficial parenting styles available to us today, how are you supposed to know which one is best for you and your child?

To learn what it takes to be a good mother, keep reading.

There’s No One Way to Parent

Some parents (maybe even your parents) believe that it’s their way or the highway when it comes to parenting methods.

But the truth is, there are many different approaches, and each one comes with its own pros and cons.

Choose the Parenting Method that Resonates with You

You might feel pressured to parent the way your mom and dad did. Or, you might want to do everything completely different.

When you take time to educate yourself and become an informed and mindful person, you’ll discover that there are many parenting methods. And you’ll probably find yourself inspired and naturally drawn to one philosophy over the other.

And that’s exactly how it should be.

Depending on your personality and your family dynamic, one style may stand out to you as the one you need to implement to create and maintain peace, love, and functional relationships.

Four Parenting Styles

To help you discern how to become the perfect mother, let’s take a brief look at four common parenting styles, as identified by a developmental psychologist, Diana Baumrind:

1. Authoritative Parenting

It may sound like a harsh method, but authoritative parenting is actually associated with children who have a good sense of self-esteem, high academic performance, as well as strong social and emotional skills.

How does authoritative parenting help to cultivate these positive qualities in children? Authoritative parents don’t just establish rules. They give reasons for why these rules are necessary. Plus, they enforce them, with clear consequences.

It’s an approach that sets your child up for success because they come to understand and respect boundaries, not because they’re limiting, but because they ensure order and tranquility.

2. Authoritarian Parenting

This is a very old and archaic way to raise children, and maybe this is how you were raised, too. It’s a method in which children are seen instead of heard. Authoritarian parents don’t care very much (or at all) about their child’s feelings. When it comes to rules and regulations, “because I said so” is the logic behind obedience and discipline.

It can be a great way to keep order and get things done, but it doesn’t help your child develop problem-solving skills, nor does it encourage open communication.

In authoritarian parenting households, fear, instead of love, is often the driving force within the relationship between mother and child.

3. Permissive, or Indulgent Parenting

Just as the name implies, permissive parents are moms and dads who might set rules, but who don’t follow up with them. Instead of consistent consequences, you let your children off the hook most of the time.

This is very detrimental to the child’s development because they learn that they don’t have to honor authority figures. Furthermore, they learn that rules don’t matter, and breaking them doesn’t result in any real consequence.

While it might be easier on the parent, the child suffers in the long run. Poor academic performance, behavioral problems, low self-esteem, and physical health problems can all be the sorry outcome for permissive parenting.

Plus, they can get in trouble with the law as they get older.

4. Neglectful, or Uninvolved Parenting

Sometimes, parents become neglectful due to their own suffering, such as mental health or substance abuse issues. These parents don’t follow up with their children, nor do they take a vested interested in their child’s wellbeing, both physically and emotionally, as well as their academic and social life.

Because of this mistreatment, children can have incredibly low self-esteem, and like the children of permissive parents, they can develop both social and physical problems.

Aim to Be an Authoritative Parent

Of the four parenting methods, we covered – Authoritative, Authoritarian, Permissive and Neglectful – it seems clear that authoritative parenting is the most beneficial method for both the mother and child.

With this approach, you create a clear and structured environment in which the child feels safe, valued and respected. You’re interested in your child and set clear expectations which he or she can meet. You allow him or her to communicate with you openly and without fear of abuse, punishment or rejection.

What Kind of Authoritative Parent Do You Want to Be?

There are several ways to be an authoritative parent. Here are just some of the philosophies you can follow when trying to be a perfect mom:

  • Positive Parenting: Instead of focusing on what you want your child to become, you allow your children to develop into the person they’re meant to be by supporting their interests. You get to empower and guide them. And you witness, instead of controlling them, as they self-actualize.
  • Unconditional Parenting: Instead of rewarding your child for doing well, and punishing them for behaving poorly, unconditional parenting strives to treat your child with love and respect no matter how they behave. Praise and punishment are thought to be two sides of the same coin: manipulation, which tries to control behavior. And to avoid any type of manipulation, you simply love them no matter what.
  • Attachment Parenting: Within this method, you make an effort to be there for your child, both physically and emotionally. This helps them feel safe and to feel that they are loved unconditionally. Attachment parenting makes it easier for children to grow up believing in the goodness of other people.

What Does It Take to Be a Good Mother?

Let’s give a quick summary of why the authoritative parenting method is better than the other three we looked at.

Authority parenting…

  • Gives structure and sets expectations
  • Creates space for logical, fair and open dialogue
  • Enables your child to become successful in life

Now, it’s up to you to choose whether you want to try positive parenting, unconditional parenting, or attachment parenting. Or, you can do even more research to find a method that resonates with you and aligns with your values.

The most important thing to becoming a good mother are these final thoughts:

  • Make parenting decisions out of love, instead of fear
  • Respect your child as an individual in his or her own right
  • Ask whether your actions aim to control or empower your child
  • Your job is to help your child become independent of you

Identifying and choosing your parenting style is the first step to learning great tips to raise emotionally and physically healthy children.  Which parenting method resonates most with you?

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