Adoptive parent or biological parent, it’s all the same. A parent is a parent. How does one become the very best parent possible? There are lots of professionals who have studied and shared their findings on successful parenting. But, when it comes right down to it, the real answer is to love your child unconditionally and give the gift of your time.

The remainder of this article is taken from a religious address given in 1987. Although, it is an address targeted to mothers, the concepts apply to fathers as well.

  • Physically be present for your children. Structure your life so that when your child is finished with school, s/he gets to come home to a parent, if at all possible. It’s summer vacation and your child has time off? Take your vacation time in sync with your child’s.

  • Pray with your children. If that means kneeling and offering words of thanks and request to God, do so with your child; if it means taking nature walks and being thankful for all that the universe provides, do so with your child.

  • Read to your children. The benefits of reading with your children go way beyond educating your child. The bonding that takes place, the shared experiences of delving into a story, and the time spent together … that’s all priceless.

  • Eat together. In our hurried society, we often grab, eat and go. Take time to enjoy each other during mealtimes. Eat in a relaxed atmosphere where conversation is encouraged.

  • Play together and work together. Really, the operative word here is “together.” Although teaching play and work is valuable, when done together it creates cohesiveness and confidence.

  • Listen and love. Ask anyone who feels alone what they think is the greatest gift. You can bet it is the gift of honest attention. Give that gift to your children to not only listen, but to really hear what they’re telling you. Ask leading questions, then without planning how you’ll respond, just listen to what they have to tell you. Love your children unconditionally by trying to understand how they feel, what they think and who they really are.

Now that I’ve got you thinking, come up with your own list of things that you think makes an amazing parent. Then practice those things, and before you know it, you’ll be the best adoptive parent ever.