THE BLOG

5 Things Bad Parents Are NOT Doing

I've always been very vocal about my disagreement with the social tendency to arbitrarily blame parents,. Parenting is the hardest job in the world. There is no single "right way" to parent.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

I've always been very vocal about my disagreement with the social tendency to arbitrarily blame parents, for everything. Parenting is the hardest job in the world. There is no single "right way" to parent. Whether it be circumstance, values, culture, a parent's own upbringing, or experience from previous parenting successes and failures, that influence a person's parenting style; it still comes down to personal choice. Most of us don't even parent each of our children with exactly the same style. Don't let the know-it-all people fool you! Everyone has an opinion. Who cares? How you parent is your choice. I absolutely adore, enjoy, love, and LIKE my own children, but I wouldn't want the world to be full of people who were exactly like them. I love the diversity of our world and am especially moved by the newest generations' devotion to human rights and equality. Parenting in a completely different way from Susie down the block, with the perfect kids, doesn't make you a bad parent. I believe there are way more good people in the world than bad. That includes parents. There are far less bad parents in the world than there are good ones. Still, there are some really bad parents out there! I'm not just talking about the obvious ones thrown into a headline on the evening news. Recently, there was a newborn who was set on fire, a three-year-old beaten almost to death for eating the last piece of cheesecake, and a five-year-old who was thrown off the Tampa Bay bridge. An inquiry on any search engine will bring up endless stories just like these. There is no doubt that these are bad parents.

There are the controversial stories, like the recently alleged Children's Protective Services investigation of parents who let their young children walk home from the park. Reader comments came from every direction on this one. Personally, I didn't feel there was enough information given for me to make the outright claim that it was a case of bad parenting. Because parenting is such a personal choice, we are never likely to find a consensus on stories like this one. Agreeing on who the good parents are is even less likely. The problem is, we often (conveniently) forget that no one is perfect, especially when it comes to parenting. We get into debates over semantics and forget about the big picture. I've been thinking about this whole fascinating topic for years. Maybe, all my life. I was certainly raised differently than I am raising my own children. Whatever the case may be, something has remained constant in my personal beliefs over the years. Specifically, what all good parents do: 5 Things Bad Parents Are NOT Doing.

1. Counting Their Blessings

Bad parents don't count their blessings.
They see their children as more of a burden than a blessing. They see their sacrifices as inconvenient, at best. More often, they are resentful and consider personal sacrifices a tremendous injustice, and avoid them at all costs. Good parents always find their way full circle in the day to appreciate the blessings of being a parent. No matter the extent of the sacrifice, good parents are willing to make them over and over again, whenever it's what is best for their child.

2. Intentionally Raising Women & Men

Bad parents don't focus on raising women and men.
They let their children grow up to be kids because there is nothing intentional about their parenting. They don't have plans, standards, expectations, and deliberate parenting techniques that will help their children in the future. They don't choose being a good parent over being a good friend, when parenting inevitably requires them to make a choice. Good parents try to give their children the tools to go out into the world and make happy grown-up lives for themselves. They are deliberate and raise their children on purpose, with purpose.

3. Giving Back To Others

Bad parents are narcissists. They are so entitled, they don't see a reason to give back, because they never believe they have enough.
Everything really is just about them. Good parents don't expect the world to revolve around them. If anything, good parents frequently forget that it's okay for it to
be about them,
sometimes. They are givers. Because they are so aware of and constantly counting their blessings, they put good out into the world. They are grateful and appreciative of the things and people they value most.

4. Learning To Be Better Parents

Bad parents aren't learning how to be better parents.
They have such a simplistic view on parenting that they don't see any reason to do anything differently. They are
always right.
Good parents adapt to change and parent accordingly. Good parents are seekers of new information. They are hunters, always on the prowl for answers. Bad parents are quick to give up. If their relationship with their child lacks trust, fun, respect, or common-ground, they are satisfied with giving up after little or no attempts to find a solution. Good parents don't give in or give up on raising their children. Ever. They don't
quit,
just because they don't know how to deal with something. They learn.

5. Teaching "Good" Through Example

Bad parents don't teach, "good."
Ironically, they are often experts at teaching "bad." They might intentionally teach hate, entitlement, and narcissism. Good parents, regardless of religious views, culture, or upbringing, teach their children to be good people, through example. Good parents don't bully the people in their lives. They teach their children to support others through their own examples of being a good friend. Good parents apologize to others when they are wrong. Through this example, they teach their children humility. Good parents are honest. They set the example on having integrity. Good parents talk and care about the world. They teach their children how to be a part of a community. Good parents teach their children to love by making them feel loved. Good parents teach through example.