Life Advice



Barton Goldsmith: Tips for 21st century parenting

Barton Goldsmith, Tribune News Service on

Published in Dating Advice

Perfect parenting doesn’t exist, but a balanced and loving approach to parenting will teach your kids how to get through this wild world. Good-enough parenting from emotionally healthy people sets you up for a more balanced life. Here are a few values you can instill in them.


No matter what your circumstances, when you wake up in the morning and can appreciate your life, you have a good one. Simply being alive should be enough, though it may not always feel that way. Remember to think about all that you have and all the love in your life, and then share that appreciation with the ones you love, so they learn by your example.


Letting others know you really understand their feelings is the essence of empathy. As a parent, you can remember what it was like to be a kid and when you didn’t get what you wanted or had a failure or two. Your mission is to get into your kid’s heart, so they know you know how they really feel. Being empathetic teaches empathy.


This may be the answer to the questions that keep you up at night. If you can learn to accept as a parent that things sometimes go sideways and that you can’t control the world your child lives in, it will keep things in perspective. Kids can’t live in a bubble, even if we want to put them in one. Also, if you accept that you are a good-enough parent, your child will too. They’ll learn to appreciate that no one is perfect.



When you’re a child, self-confidence can be elusive. Give your child all the support you can while they are growing up and offer praise for a job well done, as a kid’s world isn’t always kind to them. Building your kid’s confidence also builds a better and happier kid. It’s a total win-win.


Affection is the cornerstone of any loving relationship. You can show your affection in whatever style suits you. Some people tend to be physically affectionate where others are more verbally affectionate, and each can have a profound effect. Added together, there’s nothing quite like a good hug and an “I love you so much.”


One of your jobs as a parent is to teach your kids how to live without you. You won’t be with them forever, so showing them how to change a tire (or call AAA) is important. Teaching them how to get through minor difficulties in life will give them the tools to deal with bigger ones later on.

You will make mistakes as a parent, so give yourself a break when you do. Similarly, allow your children to make and correct their own mistakes. That’s how we all learn, and it is a never-ending process. No one single event in your kid’s life will matter as much as your being a constant source of support and comfort in their life.

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