This question was recently posed by writer Joelle Klein on the TLC Slice of Life blog. Here is my response from my own experience as a parent...so far.
1. Good parents model patience by putting themselves in another person's shoes before responding, staying in the present moment and trying to be of service in any situation.
2. Good parents are aware of their stress triggers and practice healthy self care and communication. Instead of yelling at the kids, they take a walk or step away to cool down. Instead of arguing with their partner, they schedule a time to talk calmly about concerns.
3. Good parents are grown-ups, meaning it's not all about them anymore. They see their role as parents as a beautiful opportunity to make a difference in the world rather than a burden. They take that role seriously. They give up unhealthy behaviors that could impact the children in a negative way...be it drinking or spending too much time away from the family.
4. Good parents are present. They spend time with their children. They understand their children's top emotional needs and fill them, whether it's quality time, hugs or words of affirmation.
5. Good parents model and teach their children about responsibility, honesty and patience. They don't take a child's side if the child is wrong. They have expectations and deliver appropriate discipline that helps the child become self-sufficient and respectful.
6. Good parents are not a child's friend. They are mentors, guides and teachers about life.
7. Good parents let a child know that although they don't always love their actions, they still love them. They are a soft place to fall when life gets rough and can support their children in making better choices and turning their lives around.
8. Good parents make mistakes. Then they own up to those mistakes with anyone they've hurt and they learn from them.
9. Good parents have a spiritual life and model it in how they treat others and the legacy they leave behind after a lifetime of bumps, mumps, achievements and bereavements. In the end, good parents feel confident that they've done the best they could with no manual, no experience and no single definition of success.
10. Good parents are messy, moody and human. And their kids love them anyway.