There are many mothers in the world, both good and bad. I have seen mothers that I wish that I could be more like and those that I think should never have had children in the first place. But what exactly makes a woman a good mother? Anthropologist Margaret Mead has spent years studying children, parents, and the methods used by mothers raising children all over the world. When asked what she considered the most “valuable capacities for a mother to have.” She replied by giving five qualities that she feels every good mother must possess.
1. Treats each child as an individual. A good mother realizes that every child is not the same. She understands that children are not just an extension of or born to be a helper for their parent, but that each child is an “individual in their own right.”
2. A good mother helps their child set out on their own path. Allowing the child to follow that path, regardless of the mother’s desires. Yet at the same time being there for the child to fall back on when that path seems too hard to follow.
3. A good mother is one that is willing to “listen, and listen, and listen.” I was the oldest child and as a teenager arrived home about half an hour before my siblings. Everyday when I would come home I would sit in the kitchen and talk to my mom. She would just sit and listen. Now I try and do the same thing for my children.
4. One of the hardest things a good mother must be willing to do is to show disapproval when she feels that the child has done something wrong, even though by doing so she may risk rejection from her child. Hearing a child say, “I hate you,” is very difficult. But it is also important that children learn to follow the rules.
5. A good mother is willing to stand up for her own beliefs. And in doing so earn the right to have and keep her child’s respect. So many mothers today do not have a firm belief system and set of values that they teach their children. Oftentimes they may say one thing and then do another. I appreciate the fact that my own mother always lived by her beliefs and taught us to do the same.
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