What Makes A Good Parent

According to research psychologist Dr. Robert Epstein and University of California student Shannon Fox, there are ten specific parenting skills shown to be the most effective in being a good parent and raising happier, healthier, more successful children.

Published in the Scientific American Mind magazine, 'The Parents' Ten' is listed in order from the most to least important skill areas in predicting positive child-rearing outcomes.

  1. Love and affection: You support and accept the child, are physically affectionate and spend quality one-on-one time together.
  2. Stress management: You take steps to reduce stress for yourself and your child, practice relaxation techniques and promote positive interpretations of events.
  3. Relationship skills: You maintain a healthy relationship with your spouse, significant other, or co-parent and model effective relationship skills with others.
  4. Autonomy and independence: You treat your child with respect and encourage him or her to become self-sufficient and self-reliant.
  5. Education and learning: You promote and model learning and provide educational opportunities for your child.
  6. Life skills: You manage your money responsibly, have a steady income, provide all household necessities for your child consistently and plan for the future.
  7. Behavior management: You make extensive use of positive reinforcement and punish only when other methods of managing behavior have failed.
  8. Health: You model a healthy lifestyle and good habits, such as regular exercise and proper nutrition.
  9. Religion: You support spiritual or religious development and participate in spiritual or religious activities.
  10. Safety: You take precautions to protect your child and maintain awareness of your child's activities and friends.

While the top-ranked "love and affection" seems pretty obvious, who would have known that two factors that do not directly involve our children (our own stress management and our relationship with our spouse/co-parent/significant other) would be that high-ranking and impactful on their happiness and well-being?

Now that we know what is most important, we wonder what do we do with it? We can begin by examining our individual parenting skills. 

To see how you rate, visit Dr. Epstein's free Parenting Skills Test: http://myparentingskills.com.  You will automatically receive your parenting skills summary based on the answers you provide to a series of 100 questions.

Once your results are revealed, celebrate your strengths, then carefully consider the parenting areas that challenge you. The beauty in knowing where we fall short is that it can be the starting point for improvement. The good news is, all of these parenting skills can be learned and improved upon through a variety of mediums, including: books, videos, parenting classes and counselors.

Click here for more on Dr. Epstein's What Makes a Good Parent.