What Are the Essential Characteristics of a Good Parent?

Written by c.g. frechette
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What Are the Essential Characteristics of a Good Parent?
Being a good parent requires putting your child first. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

There are many different approaches to parenting in the United States. Each style has its supporters and detractors. However, when various parenting styles are boiled down to the bare minimum, there are similar elements in every one. Ultimately, it is those elements that are the essential characteristics of a good parent.

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One of the most important characteristics that a good parent must have is selflessness. To be selfless is to put another person's needs before your own. To to be an effective parent, the child's needs must come first to ensure that the child is brought up in as loving and safe a home as possible.


All parents you ask will agree: being a good parent is hard work. Parents have to be willing to put the effort into teaching their child the morals, values and skills that are necessary for a healthy and productive life. These lessons are not going to be learnt in one day, however; they are taught over the course of a lifetime. Additionally, hard work also applies to being financially secure, so that the child is able to have his basic needs met, such as food, clothing and shelter.

Good Listener

Listening to what your children have to say is a good way to demonstrate love. You are taking the time to stop and pay attention to a child's thoughts and questions, which shows the child that you care enough about her to listen. It is also important for a parent to be a good listener in terms of receiving advice from other parents. Listening and learning from more-experienced parents may help you to become a better parent as well.


It is not uncommon for parents to believe that their child is the smartest, prettiest or most talented. However, these beliefs are not necessarily realistic. A child is not perfect, and it is important for you to recognise the limitations of your child. Having too-high expectations can be detrimental to the parent-child relationship.

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