by Charles Jarvis, LMHC
Continually I find myself reflecting on this subject throughout my day – and with that comes a continual fear that I may be doing this whole parenting thing wrong. But here’s a secret, there are really no guidelines for this although there are special indications which professionals look for to gauge the whole idea of “doing it right”.
A Checklist for Parenting
What is your child’s relationship with you?
As professionals we gauge if a child is fearful of a spouse, or will shy away from telling a story in a parent’s presence. Of course this is in extreme cases, however from a provider’s perspective–it can indicate possible trauma or substance use within the home.
How much does your child seek your attention?
A child who feels comfortable with a parent will typically seek attention often. This can be the drowning stories of video games, or facts learned at school. However sometimes the child will seek negative attention, and attempt to test the parent’s resolve. We see this often in the ER, typically in divorced couples. The child will approach the parent they feel more comfortable with and demonstrate tantrum behaviors, as it is safer to act this out with the parent they feel most comfortable. That is not to say they do not feel comfortable with the other party, that just may be a different relationship.
How is your child’s mood around you?
Children typically cannot hide when they are happy. They will smile, talk to you, and have little tells – like jumping or fidgeting.
Most importantly, love is the pinnacle of raising respectful children, as they will reflect on their feeling of safety and grow into the person they want to be. Remember they are watching everything, so model behavior you would like them to adopt. But have fun, they are your legacy and this is in many ways the best job we will ever have.
About Charles Jarvis, LMHC
Charles Jarvis is a licensed mental health counselor practicing in Massachusetts with a master’s degree in counseling psychology. He has been working in mental health since 2008 and has held a variety of critical roles. As a community hospital site manager, he has a specialized focus on those in the community experiencing mental health crises. In addition, he has worked in outpatient therapy, day, and community programs as well as specializing in populations with life-threatening symptoms. He enjoys talking to people with an aim to support his clients in their goal to achieve a better life experience.