"A parent cannot give what is most valuable to a child if the parent does not have excellent knowledge of what it takes. Thus, without
"on-purpose", strong efforts to learn, a parent will cheat the child of what is most valuable in life."
THE MOST VALUABLE GIFTS FROM A PARENT
These are what you can give to your child:
A sense of security throughout life
A sense of being loved throughout life
Impulse control/responsibility/self-confidence/life effectiveness
Basic life skills
An understanding of the importance of "learning life", instead of hoping it'll
happen by random chance through "experience"
The impulse control is linked to responsibility, self-confidence, and life effectiveness because they all depend on putting the child in a situation where there are clear consequences and where there are not "rescues" where not necessary. Read Top predictor for a child's success in life.
YOU CAN'T GIVE THOSE TO A CHILD WITHOUT LEARNING THIS
One of the most vital "skills" (or rather collection of skills) is parenting, as one has another's life in one's hands and can make a significant difference.
Because of its impact, one can not leave it to chance or to being unskilled ("amateur", "ignorant"). Yet, incredibly, most leave it up to chance - accepting mediocre results, yet making it ok because it is "normal" or "it's too much effort to learn, just let it be learning as we go" (see the section on Learning, use search engine)" or "I don't have enough time".
You do have enough time and it is worth it, as it is, next to your own psychology and happiness, the most important thing outside yourself that you can learn, the most important contribution you can make to this world.
Being a great (no other choice is, I think, a good alternative) parent involves so many things, most of which are also beneficiail to the rest of the parent's life, so becoming skilled at them has a multiple payoff.
Obviously, learning about the stages of development of children helps one deal with children at the level they are at at the time.
Things like learning about co-dependence are necessary for dealing with others, too, in order to set up productive, kind relationships and in making sure the children are not rescued so much they do not develop internal strength or confidence from dealing with problems such that they develop skills for coping in life. I cannot overemphasize enough the importance of letting the children handle "problems" so that they become more capable, happier individuals. (See Psychology, Happiness section on why.)
You must also learn, once you are knowledgeable about co-dependence, under Relationships: (access via search engine):
3. Healthy Behaviors,
4. Conflict Resolution, and
5. How To Avoid Criticism, Blame, and Being A Victim
These are all necessary skills/wisdoms/knowledge from the Relationships section.
Learning about these items in psychology is also necessary:
1. Managing The Mind,
2. Healthy Beliefs/Thoughts,
3. Fear Reduction/Elimination,
4. Empowering Onself,
5. Avoiding Anger/Blame,
6. Avoiding Stress,
7. Managing Moods, etc.,
These are all important areas to learn in the Psychology section.
Since you can't learn it all instantly, it is very useful meanwhile to have coaching, just as in other parts of life, to help add the insight and the outside perspective and the wisdom. Find a parenting coach that is good, perhaps through word of mouth and/or from the resources below.
Useful websites to go to are listed one the Main Resources page on The Life University site. These will lead you to others. Select training programs for yourself plus select training programs for the children, as they help tie together some learning in a way that is not as easily achieved via reading.
The point of this page is not only to help guide you to a few resources that will start you on your way, but to make sure that you are not taking this job too lightly and that you become a skilled parent.
WHAT IS THE TEST FOR A GOOD PARENT?
While there are tests for how good a parent you are or will be, the real test is in answering the question "Am I A Skilled Parent?", in terms of knowledge about relationships, children's development, and personal psychology (including the ability to use healthy psychological behavior).?"
Although the resources above will be useful, I might point out a few useful resources here.
For those who want some good basics but don't want to search for books, consider using www.parentmagicstore.com, which incudes book and DVD packages. From Marshall B. Rosenberg the author and developer of Non-Violent Communication (www.cnvc.org), one might not only learn the basic skills of non-violence so that they can be modeled for the children such as in the 199 minutes of DVD called The Basics Of Nonviolent Communication, but one also might access the training materials related to children specifically Resolving Conflicts With Children And Adults (video) and the book Parenting The Non-violent Communication Way. Use the books and resources listed on the Family/Children page of this site.