Is your child well-parented? I spent some time last weekend with a 9-1/2 month old child who clearly was well-parented. How do I know?

  1. He was happy most of the time but expressed a range of emotions.
  2. His body was relaxed most of the time but stiffened when his emotions dictated it.
  3. I watched his parents allow him some latitude in his explorations…and, yet, there were clear limits.
  4. He was comfortable with strangers after some initial caution.
  5. Both of his parents were involved in his life and they seemed to share the same basic approach to parenting.
  6. His parents were watchful and conscious of where he was at all times.
  7. He checked back with Mom and Dad from time-to-time.
  8. His parents at times gave up adult experiences to focus on his needs often sharing this responsibility by taking turns.
  9. His parents were happy and self-confident individuals who clearly love one another.
  10. He has an extended family and friends who support his family.

There are many possible reasons (e.g.; mismatched parent and child temperaments, health, special challenges, past experiences) that a child might not fit these characteristics through no fault of his or her parents. Yet, at the risk of over-simplifying, in my years working with young children and families, these characteristics are telling most of the time.

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