What should we do to be good parents?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
From a teenager's perspective, there are quite a few things I believe people should do in order to be good parents.
- Tell them you love them. Yes yes they will most likely hate it -- I know I do! However, it's still nice to hear. I may react with disgust, but it's definitely better than parents that never say it to their children.
- Adding to that, ALWAYS be supportive of them! We are going to mess up (many, many times...). However, there is a way to show disapproval, and be supportive, all at the same time! One of the worst things a parent can do is get so mad at their child that they end up abandoning them in their time of need. Yes, you are going to get pissed off at us. So, take a deep breath. Take a minute (or hours... or days...) and calm down. Push aside your anger and help your child fix whatever mistake they just made.
- Don't be a hypocrite. Make sure that from a young age you teach them right from wrong. And by teach, I mean do. Don't just say it! Don't tell us to treat people with respect and then turn around and be disrespectful. Your words hold meaning -- act like it.
- Emphasize that it's OK to fail. There is this mentality (at least where I'm from) that you can't afford to fail. Good grades lead to a good school, leads to a good job, which leads to happiness. We're taught that if we mess up one of them, then we're toast! Don't get me wrong, always push us to do our best. Just make sure that we know that we don't have to be perfect all of the time. It's OK to fail sometimes... Just as long as we still have the willpower to get back up -- and come back stronger.
- Let us make mistakes. There is going to come a point where [most] kids will make terrible decisions. I'm here to tell you that as much as you tell us about how our decision is wrong, we most likely won't listen. Making mistakes is a vital part of growing up. As much as you'd like to shield us from pain and failure, doing so will only hurt us in the long run. So, unless our decisions will end up endangering ourselves (or others!), I'd recommend you stay quiet and suffer through it. We don't need you to prevent us from falling; we just need you to be there when we're trying to get up.
- And most importantly... Inspire us to follow our dreams. We are at a point in our lives where as much as we need you to be realistic with us, we also need you to be supportive of our dreams. No matter what your child wants to do, make sure they know that you'll help them get there.