Being a guardian for a child is a huge responsibility. It doesn’t matter if you’re a parent or someone who has legal custody—you are in one of the most important positions to influence that child’s life. If you’re looking to become a better parent, you should take a look at these four methods of becoming a better guardian.
Learn to Listen
One of the best ways to be a better guardian is to listen to your child. Don’t assume you know everything that impacts him or her. Talk to your child about what goes on in his or her day, listen to the child when he or she has a problem, and don’t be afraid to get deep when you’re talking about feelings. If your child knows you’re listening, he or she will feel comfortable turning to you for help.
Seek out Information
Constantly seeking out information is a great way to become a better guardian. Take some time to start listening to parenting podcasts, join local parenting groups, or even check out some books from the library—getting multiple points of view might help you to become a better support for your child. While you certainly don’t have to adapt your parenting style to everything that you consume, you can incorporate new information when it makes sense to you.
One of the hallmarks of good parenting is consistent involvement. Make sure that you don’t just step back and make your child responsible for his or her own life—you need to know what’s going on. Ask questions, have conversations, and be willing to be present when it’s appropriate. While you need to give your child enough space to grow, you also need to be there to provide the support that he or she needs.
Work as a Team
It’s important to remember that you are a part of a larger team when you are the guardian of a child. While you might have the ultimate responsibility, that doesn’t mean you need to work on your own. Talk to your child’s teachers, therapists, and other adults in their lives to get the support you need and to come up with plans to help your child. Being a part of a team makes it easier to fulfill your charge’s needs.
The first step towards being a better guardian is understanding you need to put your child first. Put in the work by learning what you can and working with others, then make sure that you are a present and receptive force in your child’s life. If you can make the effort, you can be a great guardian.