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Being a Good Parent

Family therapist Arden Greenspan-Goldberg gives parents advice about what it takes to be a good parent. And the answer is surprisingly simple.

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-We all want to do the best for our kids. So, what does it take, though, to be a good parent? Well, the answer is a whole lot simpler than you might think. Joining us now is family psychotherapist Arden Greenspan-Goldberg to help us figure out the answer. I love having you in because you always help me every time you come. -Oh, you're so sweet. Thank you so much. -So, let's start with-- you say the ingredients of being a good parent-- -Uh-huh. -are pretty similar to being a good person-- -Right. -in general. -Right. -Tell us about how then it works. -Well, I think it's about being kind and considerate and patient, and being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes, you know. And being a forgiving person. Being able to give to a person as well as to be forgiving in the way that it's defined. -And practice what you preach, right? -Practice. -Which a lot of parents forget. I know I do sometimes. -Absolutely. You know what? It's very, very hard to walk the talk sometimes, you know. And to be everything that we think we need to be for our kids, to be kind and considerate of them. But we're teaching them to be kind and considerate of us as well. -And one of the big things is spending quality time. It's not just how much time-- -Right. -it's what you do with it. -Right. Absolutely. Quality time is everything. Sharing time, special times, and going on an outing with your children once a week. You know, apple picking, something like that. It's really engaging them in the process to planning special moments and special time, too. Absolutely. -But you tend to get wrapped up in the things you need to do at home. -Right. Chores. -But you really need to just put that aside-- -Right. -and get out of the house with them. -Right. And sometimes, you just need to be with them at home, and color and watch a videotape, and love and kiss-- and kiss them up and make them feel good. Because we do get caught up in other things that we feel like we have to do. And those have-to-do things can wait. Okay? -They can wait. -Oh, absolutely, they can. -The ironing, the laundry, it could all wait. -It could always wait. -Also, you say the expectations for your children should be age-appropriate. -Right. -What do you mean by that, and why is it so hard sometimes? -I think-- I think a good example of a parent that I know that has a 3-year-old and a newborn baby. And they're fostering premature independence on their child by telling them, "You have to be the big brother or the big sister." They prematurely wean the child from the bottle, they prematurely toilet-train the child. -And they're not ready. The child's not ready. -You know they're babies. -Yeah. -They're absolute babies. That's my-- that's my pet pit. And then, they create yet another problem because the little 3-year-old is gonna be very jealous of the new present. So, you really have to be mindful of your child's emotional intelligence, of what they're really capable of being and doing and spend that kind of alone time with them. -And even the best parent is gonna get tired sometimes-- -Oh, my gosh. -Or irritated sometimes. -Oh, yeah. -So, what do you do in that kind of a situation? -I think you own it. You know, if you're-- if you're a good person, you let your child know that you're feeling not well, like "My sinuses hurt." My sinuses hurt me all the time. So, I'd let my kids know, I'm now feeling tired. My sinuses are killing-- you know, killing me. "Can you be a little kinder to me right now?" And I think kids are so understanding, especially if most of the time, we've been caring and empathic and considerate and respectful of them, we've role modeled that for them, so they're gonna be the same with us as well. -And some of the advice that you give for a parent-child relationship is similar to what you'd give to a married couple, "Never go to bed angry." It's so important. -Oh, my goodness. Never. I-- have you ever gone to sleep angry-- -Yeah. -at your spouse? -Yeah. -Can you sleep? -Not really. -All right. -Not well. -I can't. I can't sleep. So, it's the same thing with your child. We look to mend and tend. Even if we have to agree to disagree, we want our child to have peaceful slumber. And we don't want to leave it in a ruptured place. And we could always deal with-- deal tomorrow. You know, "Let's talk about this tomorrow when we're both feeling more calm. Okay?" -And something I try to do at home, when I'm wrong, you say 'sorry' to your kids. -Oh. Absolutely. I absolutely-- I've admitted so many times to my kids that I'm wrong. And I think when I've done that, they're so relieved. It's like-- -They appreciate it. -you're wrong-- -Uh-huh. -this authority figure. But a benevolent authority figure, okay, is admitting that she is wrong. Okay. And that sets the stage for your-- for your children to say they're wrong as well, and to admit to mistakes. -Arden, you always have the best advice. -Oh, thank you so much. -Thank you so much for coming in. It's great to see you. -You're welcome. You're welcome. -And if you have a question for Arden, you can send her an e-mail to inquire at askarden.com, or you can visit her website, askarden.com. Thanks for watching Parents TV. We'll see you soon.