To Be a Good Parent

To be a good parent, the first requirement is that you must have children, either your own or other children that you can act as parent to. To be a good parent, you must sacrifice nearly all your time to your children. You must be willing to play childish games which aren't amusing for very long. Sometimes you have to let your kids win, even when they really should have lost. It's making up your own rules just so the kids will be happy. The friends that you had before having kids are put on the back burner, and your new friends are the parents of the kids your kids go to school with. You might have to be a Den Mother or a Girl Scout Leader.

Being a good parent means trips to the library and the playground, and sometimes to Dairy Queen after school in late spring. It's kissing boo-boos to make them better and handing out popsicles and watching stupid shows. It's taking the kids to the beach after they've whined and begged for weeks, only to hear them complain that the sun's too hot and the water's too cold. It's buying them an ice cream from the ice cream truck only to watch them drop it in the sand. It's hearing the ice cream truck go by at nine o'clock at night and explaining to your kids that they can't have another ice cream because they've already brushed their teeth- but giving in sometimes.

Parenting is carpooling and mediating arguments and driving your kids everywhere every day. (And trying not to forget anybody.) It's going to all their baseball and soccer games, and making a plate of cookies for every school bake sale. It's making Halloween costumes and throwing birthday parties with everyone in the class invited. It's spending more money on party favors, food, and decorations than the kid probably got in presents. It's telling your kid it's okay when they drip chocolate ice cream on their shirt, and smiling when they're all sticky from watermelon on a hot summer day. It's trying to push both your kids on the swing at the same time. It's talking more baby talk than you did when you were a baby.

Good parenting is teaching your kids how to ride a bike and wear their helmets properly so they don't get hurt- and comforting them when they do. It's understanding that they don't need ice as much as they need a hug. It's changing dirty diapers- every day- for years. It's paying for all those diapers- and more toys than the kid can possibly play with but still can't live without. It's teaching your kids to stand up for themselves without being mean, and teaching them to argue without hurting their feelings. It's paying for them to go to college.

Being a good parent is also being a good grandparent. It's spoiling your grandkids, giving them things that you never let your kids have. It's turning into the kind of grandparent that your parents were, just so your kids can have someone to complain about- just like you complained about your parents and in-laws. It's loving to have your grandchildren visit- and being glad when they finally go home.

Being a good parent is loving and supporting your kids- no matter what.

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