As moms, we all wish we could be the “cool mom” that all our children’s friends envy, mostly so our children will enjoy our company and feel close to us, so that whenever they need someone to talk to we will be their number one choice.
So, what is a cool mom? And how do you become one?
Before we explore the essential characteristics of being a cool mom that will put you in the fast lane to reaching that goal, there is a very important point to consider.
You are a parent before being your child’s friend. Directly speaking, you can be a friendly mom, but being a friend to your child is almost as impossible as it is dangerous. To teach your child about right and wrong while guiding them to the right path and advising them to make a wise choice, you have to maintain a certain level of authority and earn a certain amount of respect.
Parenting is no walk in the park, especially because we have to tune out so much noise due to the often conflicting advice coming from different styles of parenting.
There are four primary styles of parenting. Authoritarian parents often risk hurting their children’s self-esteem, and whether they intend to or not, they tend to promote bullying behaviour with their strict rules and harsh punishments. But their children can be generally goal-oriented and well-behaved rule followers.
On the other hand, permissive parenting can improve children’s self-esteem but promote a lack of self-regulation and leave social skills underdeveloped, from their loose boundaries and inconsistency. In the end, unclear expectations can make their children feel very insecure. This type of parent is viewed as wanting to be their child’s friend instead of being an authority figure.
Unlike authoritarian parenting, authoritative parenting is generally viewed as the ideal parenting style. This parenting solves problems through open discussion with their children, and sets clear rules and boundaries while teaching consequences.
And lastly, there is uninvolved parenting, which has a passive approach to parenting, with almost no rules or expectations. This approach, unfortunately, tends to leave children with high rates of mental illness, poor health and insufficient nutrition.
To be a good parent, it is important not to overlook the importance of your role. Guiding our children to navigate the many challenges they face and helping them develop beneficial skills will earn you that cool mom status in the long run. On the other hand, letting your children skip the homework in favour of screen time for the sake of avoiding a confrontation with them will earn you, at best, a high-five and some short-lived peace and quiet.
You might think you can do all that while being your child’s friend, but can you?
How seriously would you have taken your friend’s advice if they had started pointing out your excessive screen time or lagging grades? There are things you can only say as a parent, just as there are other things that only a friend can say.
What are the qualities of good parents?
To successfully manage our roles as parents and gain our children’s approval as cool parents is not an easy matter, since we juggle so many responsibilities as it is just to raise them.
But here are a few of the top characteristics that will not only make you a good parent, but one your children will be proud of.
If you want to be a good parent, be compassionate and show empathy. Be open-minded towards different opinions and new ideas and support your children with continuous encouragement. Make your child feel your affection while being a model of patience, attentiveness and responsibility. Be honest with your kids and show your trust, while maintaining consistency in your parenting. Lastly, always keep your sense of humour through the highs and lows of your parenting journey.
Let’s explore each of these characteristics that will help you become a better and cooler parent!
- Compassion & Empathy: Research shows it is possible to teach compassion, and we have plenty of opportunities to teach our children in our daily lives. News stories open up opportunities to discuss sympathy and help, what your child could do in a particular situation and how they might go about it. But most of all, modelling compassion and empathy yourself will not only be the most effective way to teach these concepts to your child, but also allow your child to see your humanity and grow respect toward you.
- Open-mindedness: As children grow, the generation gap between you and your child will also grow. New cultural norms and languages will appear and it might not always be easy for you to accept their ways. But instead of insisting one way over another, keep an open mind. Exploring different ideas and showing your willingness to accept sensible suggestions will earn your child’s attention & enthusiasm, and by doing so you will also raise your child to adopt an open-minded attitude with others. This planet is becoming an increasingly globalized place to live every day – it will be even more so by the time our children take over – and open-mindedness will be one of the more important assets they can have.
- Support & Encouragement: Understanding our children’s position and their lack of skills. When our children struggle in any aspect of their lives, we are there to help them to develop the skills they lack and cope with any challenges they face through our endless support and encouragement.
- Love & affection: Children do not feel love through words so much as through their five senses. Play with them, make them laugh, get as many cuddles as you can, model the right behaviour for them by showing care toward others – and most importantly, when they act out, show your love through patience and forgiveness.
- Responsibility: We as parents carry huge responsibility from the day our children are born. Day and night we have to provide for their needs, make sure they are fed, washed, slept and educated. By fulfilling your children’s emotional and physical needs consistently, you are fulfilling your responsibility and modelling an important life skill.
- Patience: Children observe you when they do something wrong, to see how you react. Of course, we have to grab every opportunity to teach what is right, but how we do it is also important. Do not lose your temper, but show them how you handle situations that upset you. Life provides many learning opportunities that are not directly related to your children, like traffic jams and stressful workdays. Show your children how you control stressful situations with the patience that you wish them to exercise when they are under stress.
- Attentiveness: Children, in general, are chatterboxes, but that could change if they face constant indifference and no reaction from their parents. You do not have to absorb every word of your child’s endless talk all the time, but do your best to make an effort at least once a day to hear them 100 percent, even if it might not seem to be about anything significant.
- Understanding: Even if you are challenged by your child’s utterly incomprehensible actions, try your best to see things from your child’s viewpoint. Instead of saying, “What’s wrong with you?”, “How could you do that?”, or, “Why did you do that?”, you could say, “It could have been worse”, “Most important thing is that you didn’t get hurt”, or “I see how that might have happened”. Sometimes kids learn more from our understanding and forgiveness than from our criticism.
- Humour: In general, it is hard to dislike humorous people. In this modern life where everything moves so fast and stress can be an easy trigger, we often forget how important it is to be playful and lower our guard. Especially with our older children, humour can bring so much closeness. As our children grow older and voice their opinions, we are more prone to be in conflict than we would like to be. Humour loosens tension between people and triggers smiles. If your children see that you are often too serious, a little humour on your part would go a long way to make them feel closer and more relatable to you. In any relationship, sometimes all we need is that precious smile from each other’s face.
- Honesty & Trust: We moms have “mom radar” that normally detects our children’s deception even before the words come out of their mouths. But what happens if you catch your child lying to you? You might benefit from this article, How to deal with your child lying on WebMD.com. But simply put, if your child catches you lying, they will copy it. If you spot your child lying, provide facts and encourage them to tell the truth without cornering or punishing them. And please, apologize sincerely if you make a mistake or fail to keep a promise. It is crucial to be a role model to your children by being honest yourself, as well as teaching kids to be able to apologize sincerely and accept their mistakes.
- Consistency: Being consistent with your rules and expectations will earn your children’s trust. Even though we know the importance of consistency in parenting, it is hard to keep it up all the time, since it requires mood control, temper management and willpower to stay calm and follow the rules we have set. But if you let your consistency slip, your hard-earned trust from your child could also fail along with it.
It is very important to maintain your status as a respectable parent as well as make your children feel loved, understood and close to you. It is hard to balance all of these things and there will likely be many ups and downs, even after your little ones become grown-up themselves, since our role as parents never ends. But if you keep the above characteristics of a great parent in mind throughout your motherhood journey, you are that much more likely to succeed at being a good mom. But more importantly, if your kids always feel loved and cared for by you, you are already the greatest mom they could ever dream of – and the coolest!
You might also like to read, All the ParentingTypes Out There, in a Nutshell and 21 Things I Learned from Reading Some of the Best-selling Parenting Books on the Market.