What Do Good Parents Do? Guest Post with Parenting Coach Alison Smith

We here at Itsy Bitsy Haligonians are very pleased to have Alison Smith, parenting coach, writing a guest post for us today. She will be in Halifax on March 5 at Nurtured Products for Parenting giving a workshop for parents called "Beyond Time Outs." If you're available on that date and would like to attend, you can register today or read on for your chance to win a free ticket! (CONTEST CLOSED)

In this workshop she will be teaching parents some techniques to increase cooperation and minimize tantrums. She'll also provide you with some alternatives to time-outs, techniques that will make a difference immediately and tips on how to keep YOURSELF calm in the chaos.

On the blog today she delves into that question we have all tortured ourselves with at some point...what do good parents do?

If you spend any time around other parents, you will find that the good ones have a lot in common.



That’s the easy one!


Let’s be honest. Good parenting is hard! We get knocked down. A lot. Our kids get sick. We are exhausted. And strategies that worked for a while suddenly seem completely ineffective. It feels like trying to herd cats some days. However we get back up. We keep going. And not just for the “Keep them alive, fed and relatively clean” parts. It’s also for the “Where did this go wrong,” “What else can we try,” and the “How can we do better?” parts.

How? When the odds can feel stacked against us? Admit that you are overwhelmed, angry, tired, sad, resentful or any of the host of feelings we experience as parents. Allow yourself a little time to sit with those acknowledged feelings. Reaffirm that they won’t kill you and that they will pass. Know, way deep down, that you will find a way to take better care of yourself, get some help, start a new plan, or simply try again.

It is the willingness to try again that counts so much here. Try again for five minutes then have a good cry or a workout. Try for one more afternoon and call a friend. Try for one more day. You will build up resilience, stamina and confidence the more you do this.


This is one of the most important parts of doing anything well. Take the time to think about how you think. What are your motivations? What might your needs be? Pay attention to what you tell yourself. Challenge your thoughts and beliefs. The more you focus on self-reflection, the better you will get at doing it. Ask yourself why? Be open to possible answers. This brings us to the next part.


Of course, they will be honest with their kids. The “Eat your crusts or the crust man will get you” angle is not recommended. Be honest even when it means you’ll have to stop what you are doing to explain something in more detail. It pays off in the long run. (Caveat: how much information you provide depends a lot on their age.)

There’s another part to being honest, which relates to being more self-aware. To be a good parent, it’s imperative that you be honest with yourself most of all. Own what you are responsible for. If you are feeling that you cannot handle something, own that too. When you are using your adult reasoning to manipulate your child into doing what you want them to do, own it. Then figure out what to do next, in a way that is more respectful.


There is no one magic trick that will work with every child, every time. Human nature makes us unpredictable and ever-changing. True, there are some definites in parenting (like treating others how you would like to be treated’ and ‘it’s not nice to hit’) but the finer techniques for encouraging healthy sleep, eating, participating with chores usually involve some degree of trial and error. Get really good at researching the recommendations and really good at knowing your child. Good parent-researchers will try ‘x’ idea, observe, adjust variable ‘a’, retry, adjust variable ‘b’, and maybe try a whole new theory.

Become a sleuth. What are my child’s behaviours telling me about their needs? Why am I reacting to this situation so strongly? What is coming up for me? Keep observing, reflecting and being honest.

Although there are many ways to be a good parent and many more important traits to nurture, these qualities will serve you well in your journey to love and respect your kids.

Alison Smith is a certified parenting coaching living with her family in Quispamsis. Connect with Alison via her website at www.alisonsmithcoaching.com She is holding a parenting workshop at Nurtured Products for Parenting in Halifax on March 5 from 3pm-5pm; tickets are $40 each. The focus of this session is Beyond Time-Outs: Parenting Strategies for Real Families. Seats are limited, so register today!

You can connect with Alison on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram, or join her free parenting forum by clicking the links.

To WIN one ticket for the March 5 event, please comment below (and make sure you leave an email so we can contact you if you're the winner) with a quality that you think a good parent has. CONTEST CLOSED