Qualities of Good Parents for Tweens

happy father and daughter at sofa looking at digital tablet
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Studies show that good parents are those who consistently support their children. In addition, good parents would probably agree that raising children who contribute to their communities and are productive, well adjusted and grow into conscientious adults is the ultimate goal. What does it mean, though, to be "supportive?" Here are some qualities of supportive, good parents.

They Encourage Self-Expression

Good parents allow children to be who they really are, regardless of how that reflects on the parents. This freedom of self-expression leads to higher self-esteem and stronger personality development. Self-expression is especially crucial during the tween years when a child is searching for their true identity. If a tween is not allowed to explore many possible selves, he may instead act how his parents or other influential people want him to, which may cause identity issues later on.

They Make Themselves Available

In our busy world, no one can be available to their children 24-7, by any means. Instead, good parents make time each day to focus solely on their children, without distractions from television, computers or phones. Dedicated quality time opens the lines of communication, which is especially important as tweens face potentially heavy issues like bullying, anxiety, and mood changes.

They Listen Actively

Good parents engage in active listening, in which they restate and mirror back what their child is saying and feeling. Doing so makes a child feel truly heard. Supportive parents also encourage their children to communicate their emotions by asking questions like, "How did you feel about that?" Finally, good parents avoid giving advice unless specifically asked and refrain from interjecting personal anecdotes into the conversation. Listening means listening, not talking.

They Demonstrate Warmth

A hallmark of the best parenting style, called authoritative parenting, involves showing warmth. Warmth is demonstrated through positive facial expressions, patient actions, and affectionate speech.

Being warm does not mean agreeing with everything your child does or says.

Rather, it means consistently showing emotional affection toward the child as a person even when disciplining him for inappropriate actions.

They Set Clear Boundaries

While it may be tempting to be friends with your child first and foremost, good parents respect that there is a parent-child hierarchy. Children thrive when there is structure in their lives, and rules help create that structure. Therefore, supportive parents set up clear rules and consequences and follow through on discipline when boundaries are crossed. Doing so helps kids learn responsibility. During the tween years, good parents often allow children to be part of the decision-making process about what constitutes reasonable rules and punishments.

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By Rebecca Fraser-Thill
Rebecca Fraser-Thill holds a Master's Degree in developmental psychology and writes about child development and tween parenting.