Act with love. Whether you are hugging your child for his latest accomplishment or reprimanding him for misbehavior, do it with love. You are more likely to see a better outcome from simply giving your child the love she needs. A good parent leaves any anger aside when doling out punishments. Allowing that anger to come into discipline leaves the door wide open for negative results you will regret later.
Apologize for mistakes. We're all human and we all mess up sometimes. I can guarantee you there is not one parent out there who does every single thing perfect from the start. Being perfect is not a requirement for being a good mom or dad the last time I checked. Bending the rules slightly to fit each situation has been a lifesaver for me. Let your kids know you're sorry when you disappoint them. Fill them in on why you made that choice initially, how it was wrong, and what you intend to do the next time around. That earns more respect than trying to put on a "perfect" facade.
Multiple methods can solve the same issue. Remember that just because "A" worked for Sally, doesn't mean "B" won't for you and "C" won't work for Sam. There are many different methods and techniques out there when it comes to parenting. Take a look at the methods used in your child's school or daycare as compared to yours. Also look at divorced parents who both have responsibilities toward the child. What happens in each location may not always be the same. But more than one parenting style may work on the same child. A specific method does not define whether or not you are a good parent.
Do your best. When you truly give your all, that shows your kids you care. This will be more important than the car you drive, the schooling methods you choose, how many new outfits you buy, and so on. No matter which parenting style you operate under, put forth your best effort. You may not think your kids pay attention to that kind of thing, but they can sense what type of work you are putting into the family.
Trust your instincts. When in doubt, always go with your gut. What does that inner voice say to you about your actions? If you feel something is wrong, avoid it at all costs. When you believe strongly in something, speak your mind and take action. Parental instinct is often more accurate than you think. Don't doubt yourself. Just sit back and listen to those gut feelings. What you feel in some of the moments can be a good indicator of your parental rating.
Ignore naysayers. Since raising kids is near and dear to the hearts of many people, you are likely to be talked about no matter what you do. Being a good parent is not always about going with the popular choice. Unless the offending party has a valid point about your skills, ignore rants from other people about you not being a good parent.
Every person knows the answer to this deep down in their hearts. What is your heart (and just plain common sense) telling you? Are you a good parent?
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network