What Makes A Good Parent?

2 Comments 25 April 2012

What makes a good parent?

Likely, if you randomly ask 10 people from various walks of life, you’ll get 10 different answers.

Consider something for a moment…

There is a massive business in the “parenting advice” industry. Ask yourself, what was happening all the centuries before these manuals and guides hit the bookshelves?

Were there less good parents? I doubt it.

How interesting it’d be if we could travel back 150 years, and ask another random 10 parents from various walks of life the same question, “What makes a good parent?”

This leads me to the next question to consider, and this is the point I’m trying to make…

Does reading/consuming a lot of parenting books and materials make you a better parent?

Would be cool for you to leave a comment below. I’ll start.

Here’s my take on the question:


Reading a lot of parenting books does NOT make you a better parent.

But (and this is a big ass but) …

I say that BUYING the parenting books DOES make you a better parent.

Yes, I said “buying the books will make you a better parent.”

Why is this? 

It’s intent.

I think intent is what makes a good parent.

If a parent is thinking about the content they need to consume to be a better parent, and follow through with the act of purchasing that content, then… perhaps just read the front and back cover, maybe skim through a couple chapters… I believe they are acquiring the intent and self awareness to be a better parent – even if they don’t actually read the entire book.

Intent makes all the difference.

It’s less about consuming the parenting books. It’s more about being self aware. When you spend an hour in Barnes & Noble in half lotus position reading or skimming through parenting books, and perhaps walk out with the one you think you’d benefit from most, you’re practicing self awareness – ironically, even if you don’t know you are.

It’s simply your intent to learn and grow as a parent that matters most. It’s this intent that pushes the needle in your favor toward being a better parent.

So, don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t read all the parenting books, or keep up with all the parenting blogs, or comment on all the parenting Facebook pages. This is a new phenomenon.

Be hard on yourself if you don’t even bother to expose yourself to those books, blogs and voices that are truly making a difference.

Looking forward to your comments below.

*this post was inspired from a study in the book, Freakonomics

about the author:

Eric Walker is “BBH Dad” ’round these parts. He operates a stay at home “kitchen table” marketing business. Eric LOVES profitable “for purpose” marketing. He’ll be blogging more about your birth business. He wants birth practioners to get paid more for the work they do. He believes, as the birth movement grows, the marketing will have to mature. You can visit his personal blog here.

Your Comments

2 Comments so far

  1. elly says:

    Lovely post Eric, thank you for writing. Parenting is such a flowing process, a back and forth between preconceived ideas about ‘the right’ way and attentiveness to an individual child’s actual reactions and needs. I agree with you, that truest value is in the intent to be observant, aware, reflexive, considerate, sensitive to one’s childs needs…and not in the careful adherence to a specific method carefully learned by rote. Your post resonated with htis article I read the other day:
    To quote it: “As long as we stand in our own truth, we’ll make the best decisions possible – for ourselves, for our families and for our careers…” Hope you have a good Monday!

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