North Dakota State University
NDSU Extension Service

Am I A Good Parent?

The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.

Denis Waitly

Parents often ask themselves many of these questions: Am I a good parent? Did I do what was best for my child in that situation? Will the way I parent help our relationship grow or drive my child away? Is there a better way to get my child to act responsibly and still feel good about myself as a parent?

Since parents have pondered these questions for many years, studies have been done to determinewhat parents can do to raise children to be happy, well-adjusted, respectful adults. A parent's job is not to raise children to remain children any more than a farmer would plant a seed to raise a seed. The farmer plants seeds and nurtures them; provides the best soil, nutrients and growing conditions possible; and expects to grow sturdy, productive plants. A parent's job is to provide the best growing conditions possible and expect each child will eventually grow into a responsible adult.

The parenting style you choose will make a difference in the life of your child. People often will use the same discipline and nurturing patterns their parents used. Other times, people will make a conscious effort to use a very different style than their parents used. Either way, it is never too late to change to a style that is more positive for your child.

Children thrive when parents:

Set good examples

Give positive attention

What Do The Studies Say?

Research has determined three different styles of parenting authoritarian, authoritative and permissive.

Parent Characteristics


"Do what I say!"


"Let's talk it over..."


"Do what you want to."

Indifferent or Uncaring --

Indulgent or Lenient --

Resulting Child Characteristics




Indifferent or Uncaring

Indulgent or Lenient

Adapted from:
The Winning Family by Louise Hart (1987). Life Skills Press.
Children by Santrock (1993). Brown and Benchmark.
Work/Family Life (May 1992). Bank Street College.

If you decide to change your parenting style, talk it over with the other adults who are important in your child's life. Give everyone a chance to unlearn old roles and learn the new ways to interact with one another.

This newsletter is published for North Dakota families with preschoolers by the NDSU Extension Service and distributed through your county extension office. See your county hone economist for more parenting information and other home economics programs.

NDSU Extension Service, North Dakota State University of Agriculture and Applied Science, and U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Sharon D. Anderson, Director, Fargo, North Dakota. Distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. We offer our programs and facilities to all persons regardless of race, color, sex, religion, age, national origin, or disability; and are an equal opportunity employer.
This publication will be made available in alternative format for people with disabilities upon request 701/231-7881.

Parenting Preschoolers, Issue No. 1

North Dakota State University
NDSU Extension Service