My wife and I are keenly aware of how difficult it is to be good parents, and at times, we feel very inadequate to do the job. How does a mum or dad know what's best for a child from day to day?
The most dedicated parents go through times when they fear they aren't responding properly to their children. They wonder if they're overreacting or under-reacting, being too strict or too lenient. They suspect that they're making major mistakes that will haunt them later on. Fortunately, parents don't have to do everything right.
We all make thousands of little mistakes - and a few big ones - that we wish we could reverse. But somehow, most kids roll with these blunders and come out just fine anyway.
Let me give you what I consider to be the key to good parenting. It is to learn how to get behind the eyes of your child, seeing what he sees and feeling what he feels.
When you know his frame of mind, your response becomes obvious.
For example, when he's lonely, he needs your company. When he's defiant, he needs your help in controlling impulses. When he's afraid, he needs the security of your embrace. When he's happy, he needs to share his laughter and joy with those he loves.
Raising healthy children, then is, is not so much a science as it is a highly developed art, and most of us have the natural intuitive faculties to learn it.
Take the time to observe those kids who live in your house. If you tune in closely to what they say and do, the feelings behind those behaviours will soon become apparent. Then your reaction to what you've seen will lead to more confident parenthood.