EXCLUSIVE interview: What makes a good parent, with Katerina (aged 5)

“Teaching me to do things like paint and draw”
“Teaching me to do things like paint and draw”

Hundreds of parenting theories, studies and research papers can be gathered together, analysed and dissected, but at the end of the day the best person to ask what makes a good parent is a child.

So we secured an exclusive interview with Katerina, a 5 year old girl with two parents, one younger brother and a part time gig at Kindergarten.

Also read: Worrying about being a perfect mom makes it harder to be a good parent

We dived right in with the hard questions and included a parents guide to help those who aspire to meet the recommendations.  

What makes a good dad?

Katerina: “Reading lots of stories at night”  

Parent's Guide: Easy enough for most, and with our Storytime corner there are plenty of new stories for kids to explore with you every evening. We've got stories in English, isiZulu, Sepedi, isiXhosa, Afrikaans and Sesotho, so there's something for everyone. 

K: “When he teaches me to be kind”

PG: Katerina wouldn’t unpack this further, leaving us to wonder how exactly a dad could do more of this.

We searched online and results we found mentioned modelling the kind behaviour. Examples included washing your wife’s car, and getting the kids to help – sounds like fun. 


PG: This one doesn’t need much explanation.

However, research on affectionate behaviour has shown that men are “more likely to communicate affection by doing something supportive than by making verbal expressions.”

So if saying “I love you” to your kids might be hard for you, standing by them at the dentist or reaching something on a high shelf is just as valuable.

Must read: "Unlike fathers of old, we need to show our children a more humane face" South African dads share what being a father means to them

What makes a good mom?

K: “Cooking lovely and delicious food”

A bit of a no-brainer, I would think. While dad’s make excellent cooks, this pre-schooler has firmly linked moms and meals.

K: “Sewing clothes for me”

PG: We’re sensing a little bit of gender stereotyping here, and for those who can't even darn a sock we suggest just moving on to the next point which is much easier for most moms:

K: “Teaching me to do things like paint and draw”

PG: A quick trip to the nearest art supply store and you’re all set to be a good mother. We’ve got some fun ideas for you here and here.  

Also see: It's storytime! Browse beautiful local stories in all official languages, here

What makes a good grandparent?

K: “Showing me nice things, like picture books”

PG: Reading with grandma or grandpa makes for lasting memories, so encourage your folks to read to your kids (it's a good chance to take a nap, but you've probably already realised that). 

K: “Presents!”

PG: And what grandparent doesn’t like to spoil their grandkids? Be it a sugar sweetie from the corner café or a life-size stuffed bear, to kids it’s all the same.

K: “Making me toys to play with”

PG: Katerina listed items such a “knitted monkeys” and “flower crowns” so we’re going out on a limb and suggesting that just about anything unique and handmade will do.

So there you have it, your answers to what makes a good parent (or grandparent) - directly from an expert.

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