By Brenda L. Storey, Esq.
Too many times in post-decree cases, we see parents fixating on all they pay for their children or do for their children. The focus is, “See what a great parent I am, see what I do!” The majority of those parents, though, are lacking in basic successful parenting qualities, such as fostering their children’s emotional needs. This end result is usually because they see parenting from their perspective – all about the parent – when it should be all about the children.
A parent who puts the child first, emotionally connects with his/her child and focuses on building the child’s self-confidence is the more successful parent indeed. A child who is well adjusted, with good emotional intelligence, is kind, and practices empathy is a walking billboard of “I have a great parent.” That is the child we all hope to have, and such a child does not materialize because of how much a parent pays or brags about him or herself. Our law, although sometimes sterile and cold, recognizes the importance of all of this by specifically including in the best interests factors a parent’s ability to put the child’s needs ahead of his or her own needs.
Usually, the person who has to market their own greatness is the one who is lacking. No child needs a parent to brag about how good of a parent he or she is. No child needs a parent to fixate on how much the parent does for the child. Every child needs to have his and her needs, especially including emotional needs, as the focus, rather than a grandiose parent. Let the child’s success exude and do the talking.