What Does it Mean to Be a Parent?

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Being a parent is a major responsibility. You are in charge of raising an individual to the point of adulthood with the goal of turning him or her into a valuable member of the community. This undertaking requires care, love, understanding and the ability to keep the children on the right path. If done right, it is one of the hardest things you will do, but it also will be one of the most rewarding.

Care

  • If you are a parent, you care for the child. This means that you take care of the child by feeding, clothing and teaching him the things he needs to know to function in life. Care is the one thing that a parent does that is required by law. If a parent does not keep a child, clean and healthy, the child can be taken away from the parent.

Love

  • True parents love their children. Love goes beyond taking care of them. It is the concern you have for their future and their present. It is your watchful eye over children who are sick or troubled; the care you give when their feelings are hurt; the time you take out of your schedule to spend with them; and it's the protection that surrounds them and keeps them safe.

Understanding

  • Parents listen. You must take the time to understand the troubles of your children. Listen to what they have to say and help them work through issues that have developed during their day. Even though the problems may seem trivial to you, show understanding to your children so they can see you care about them and their lives. When possible, help them work through their problems, and if necessary help them solve them.

Discipline

  • As a parent, you must discipline your child. Children are new to the world and do not see the boundaries between good and bad, right and wrong, or danger and no danger. Your child is constantly looking for the boundaries and how far he can push them.

    If you allow him to go past what is an acceptable childhood boundary, then as an adult he may get in trouble for pushing past what are considered adult boundaries. You must teach your child the difference between right and wrong or good and bad, and show him he can face dangers. When he doesn't obey, you must discipline him.

    Depending on his age and your attitude about what sort of discipline is OK, this could mean a pop on the bottom, timeout, taking away an activity or object, or grounding for a period of time. This discipline helps you reinforce that he isn't allowed to do certain things. It is also good to reinforce when your child does things right by rewarding him on occasion with a small treat, hug or just by spending time with him.

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