Anyone can be a good parent

Being a good parent is not about money, age or whether you and your partner are together. It’s about love, respect and knowing what values you want your child to grow up with. Remember, every first-time parent starts off not knowing what the hell they’re doing.

It’s most important to create a loving, nurturing environment for your baby. You need to make sure your child feels valued and loved, and instill morals in them that make them a good person.

The basics

As with anyone new, you have to get to know your baby. If you’re not bowled over with love to start with, don’t worry it’s entirely normal. As soon as your baby is around six weeks old and starts smiling and responding to you, it’ll get easier.

Get talking. Right from birth, babies respond to your voice, so chatter away about everything. “Shall we change your nappy? Ooh, what a big poo!” All that stuff. You’ll feel like an idiot to start with, but as soon as your baby can focus and smile, they’ll be hooked on your every word!

Lead by example. If you don’t want your baby to shout, don’t shout. If you don’t want your baby to hit out, don’t smack him or let him see you hitting anyone else. If you want your baby to be polite. Sounds obvious, but it makes a massive difference.

What do you believe in?

Think about how you’d like your child to grow up. Would you like here to have a good body image? Or maybe you want him to be respectful and sensitive. As well as leading by example, you can decide what ‘rules’ you want to enforce, like always saying please and thank you.

Discuss this with your baby’s other parent, so your child gets consistency. You can also discuss how you want to discipline your child when he or she does something wrong.

Part-time parent?

If your baby doesn’t live with you, you can still have a huge influence on your baby’s upbringing.

Ensure you always turn up to visit when you say you will (if you can’t do this, you should probably question whether you should stay in your child’s life at all), stick to the parenting ideals you have discussed with the other parent, and just show your child you love them with lots of cuddles and attention.