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JLeslie's avatar

Did you wonder if you would be a good parent?

Asked by JLeslie (61652points) 1 month ago from iPhone

I hear people say they weren’t sure if they would be a good parent before they had children. Or, some people feel they wouldn’t be a good parent and never have children. Maybe some people feel sure they would be great parents.

The first time someone said to me they thought I would be a great parent it took me off guard as an odd comment.

When I was younger I didn’t think in terms of great parents or bad parents (assuming there was no abuse) parenting seemed like something you just do and no one is perfect at it.

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31 Answers

Zaku's avatar

When I was a young kid, I was very grateful for the way my parents were, and especially for how they behaved towards me. I was wary of other parents from other families, and had pretty negative impressions of many of the ones I met when I saw or heard about how they related to their kids. That had me be pretty confident I’d be good with kids.

longgone's avatar

I still wonder/worry. It seems like such a difficult job. I’ve worked on staying calm in difficult situations in recent years, as well as patience and self-control. I don’t do this only to be a good parent, but it certainly factors in.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I always felt I would be a good parent. When I actually HAD kids I had to regroup and learn over the years.
I think I was a good parent. No one has cut me out of their lives, and no one is in jail.

JLeslie's avatar

I always thought I would be a good parent, but also expected it would be harder than I anticipated and always the possibility my kids might hate me for something.

I thought if I had an out of control kid I would be terrible at handling it, that was the one thing I worried about regarding being a bad parent or parents. My husband and I were basically good kids and didn’t seek danger, never drank or did drugs, and didn’t want to hurt others, and if I had a child who was doing very destructive things to himself or others I would be ill equipped to handle it. Both my husband and I had a lot of freedom as children and were trusted by our parents. We would likely parent similarly, except I think I would be more of a worrier than my parents.

product's avatar

I thought in terms of being a better parent than my own parents. The jury is still out on how I’ve been, but I have so many regrets. It breaks my heart.

I wish I could do it all over again. And I suspect if I did, I’d want one more do-over, and again, etc.

jca2's avatar

I know people who would be great parents (I think) but don’t have kids, and I know people who don’t have kids and I think it’s for the best, because I can’t imagine them with kids. Some people that I know, I can’t imagine how a kid would fit into their lives, but yet I know when people have kids, they tend to become more flexible, just because a kid forces you to do that whether you want to or not.

My daughter is a young teen, so she’s still at the point where she’s not hanging out on her own, without me or another parent driving her, so she’s still kind of under my watch. I tend to be a laid back parent, and flexible and easy going, and luckily she’s a good kid. If her behavior changes, I’m going to have to change my tactics.

I was telling someone recently that what you don’t realize before you have kids is that forever after, you’re going to be worried about this person. Worried about their mental and physical health. Worried about their school work. Worried about their development. In the future, I can imagine being worried about who my daughter dates, etc. I’m not a person who worries a lot, and I’m definitely not anxious, but I can only hope for the best as far as my daughter is concerned. I think about things I did when I was a young adult – partying, fooling around with guys, hanging out, and if my daughter did those same things, I wouldn’t be happy but yet much of it is just normal growing up. When I was a young adult, drinking and driving laws were not so strict, there were no cell phones and everybody photographing and videoing everything like now, with everything on social media, and so many things were different and in that way, easier.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I’ve definately wondered a few times in my life. If I had the right partner, I’m sure it would have been very rewarding.

cookieman's avatar

I never really thought about until we actually adopted my daughter. Never even crossed my mind when I was younger, dating my wife. Even when we got married, becoming a parent wasn’t on the agenda. We were just the two of us for seven years.

Once we started exploring the idea of becoming parents, and knew we didn’t want to get pregnant, it just “felt” like the right time to become parents. I never really questioned whether I’d be good at it. I didn’t assume I’d be amazing, but we were confident we’d be better than our parents. We both loved kids and had been very involved with nieces/nephews, godchildren.

I think I just wasn’t concerned about it and felt confident we could figure it out together.

My daughter’s eighteen now. Have we been good parents? Well, she just told me so in my birthday card this week — so that has to be worth something.

ragingloli's avatar

Depends on your politcs.
If you are a conservative traditionalist, and consider the use of violence to ensure obedience to be good parenting, then yes.

janbb's avatar

I did. And now I wonder if I was a good parent.

Dutchess_III's avatar

My ex and I got into an argument once about child discipline. He just reacted emotionally and angrily to all transgressions. I told him he needed to start thinking about what he was doing.
He snapped “Raising children isn’t something you think about. It’s just something you do.

Caravanfan's avatar

I am a great parent. I don’t have to wonder. My kid turned out awesome.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

I had to learn to count to ten a lot. Ditto with my grand kids. But all is well I feel.

kritiper's avatar

No, not any more. I decided long ago that I would be a lousy parent. Which worked out for me since I never wanted to have children.

jca2's avatar

What’s amazing about parenting is that the way the kid ends up is not necessarily any responsibility of the parent’s. Some kids get the most doting and nurturing and wonderful upbringing, with structure and resources, and end up fucked up in a variety of ways (substance abuse, etc.), and some kids have awful upbringings with abuse and neglect, and end up happy, wonderful and successful adults. There are no guarantees. It’s not like baking a cake where you take certain ingredients and the outcome is guaranteed.

raum's avatar

@jca2 Yup. My brother was a meth addict. My sister is an overachiever who graduated medical school early and owns two ophthalmology clinics.

Same parents.

raum's avatar

Though I was talking to my therapist about this. I think there’s a certain amount of ego or hubris involved when you decide to become a parent.

On some level, you are thinking you will do better. Whether it’s better than other people. Or better than your parents.

Whether you will love them more than you were loved. Or whether you will provide them with more than you were provided.

And we know what happens when there’s too much hubris. :P

tent's avatar

I became a parent at the age of 21. I didn’t have time to wonder.

omtatsat's avatar

I never thought about it . It just happened

seawulf575's avatar

I knew I’d TRY to be a good parent. Apparently I did somethings very good because I raised 3 wonderful people. They are no longer kids but are well adjusted, happy and healthy adults.

Forever_Free's avatar

I never consciously thought about it. I knew I was up for the challenge as I wanted to have children. So I prepared the best I could.
The thing is, there is almost nothing that can prepare you for being a parent. Let alone “A good parent”.
There are no standards on what being a good parent is. It is all your own perspective. It is about what you observed in your family of origin. And as @product stated, trying to do even better than what your parents did with you.
The thing is, that you never know what hand you will be dealt. What struggles you will face along the way.
I still try to be a great parent to my adult children. It is a conscious thought to be that way.

Pandora's avatar

Yes, I wasn’t sure I would be a good parent. Not because I didn’t believe I wouldn’t do my best but because I grew up in a large family and I understood the big differences between my siblings and myself and no one parenting style fits every child. I knew I would love them and do my best but I wouldn’t know if I had what it took to meet each childs individual need.

As it turns out my only 2 children were quite different and so I had to be different with each of them. Not easy, being children will often see it as you treating one better than the other. They really don’t understand treating each child as an individual means having to react differently for each and bend in some areas or be stricter in others.

Its not till they are grown do you know if you were truly successful in helping them become good sensible people who can care for themselves. The ultimate goal is knowing they are loving and happy.
Each kid is like a mysterious recipe. You don’t know what are all the ingredients you will need and what they will be for decades. But you hope the world will enjoy they exist and not ruin them.

raum's avatar

“But you hope the world will enjoy they exist and not ruin them.”

That last part. [heart string tug]

Sometimes when I drop my kid off at school, I whisper quietly to myself. “World, please be gentle.”

Pandora's avatar

@raum You will be doing that one a lot when they go off to college and then when they move out on their own and when they get married.

cookieman's avatar

@raum & @Pandora: I alternate between hoping the world will be gentle and ‘I hope she toughens the fuck up’.

raum's avatar

@Pandora Oh, for sure. This is just me dropping her off for middle school. Middle school can be cruel.

@cookieman All of the above!

Dutchess_III's avatar

What does it mean when the teacher asks the kids what they want to be when they grow up and your 7 year old granddaughter says “A homeless person.” !!

ragingloli's avatar

It means someone does not want to clean up their room.

Pandora's avatar

@cookieman Yeah, you do hope they toughen up but you don’t want them to toughen up to the point where they grow callous and mean. That’s what I mean by I don’t want the world to ruin them. My daughter is the type to always take in strays. I mean strays by in people who most of us would be nervous about befriending. I was always worried that they would take advantage of her kindness till there was no kind person left behind. In her empathy sometimes she would see the world the way they did and for a while, it changed who she was. Eventually, she learned to recognize the human vampires for what they were and I wouldn’t say she toughened up but wised up. Partly I think because her husband is also able to push some of them away.
She’s a lot like her dad. Always wanting to help and her husband is a lot like me. I’ll help you if I see you are making a valid effort and not just planning of laying about until I get tired of you.

SnipSnip's avatar

I was horrified at the idea when I found out I was pregnant. I read for nine months and felt somewhat confident by the time she was due. It didn’t take long to realize that, while the reading was not harmful, the most important stuff comes from paying attention to a baby all the time and you learn their hints about what they need. I found it to be an amazing experience but felt once would be enough. I ended up doing it all one more time. They are my best blessings.

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