Here’s a hint, not being one is also a choice.
I’ve seen first-hand the array of damage that can be inflicted by crap parenting. While there’s absolutely no excuse for outright abuse – and these types of parents are below contempt-  there are also countless well-meaning parents who still fall spectacularly short of what they’re capable of, and what their kids need.
What both types of parents share is a wonderfully persuasive way of justifying their actions, or lack thereof. What they also have in common, is the fact that it’s simply not good enough when they have it within their power to be better.
We all have a duty to be the absolute best we can possibly be for our offspring. Hell, we only get one shot at it after-all, so it’s inexcusable to squander the opportunity?
It’s not even about being perfect. On the contrary, it’s pointless shooting for perfection because it’s just an illusion. All you have to do as a parent is give whatever you’re able to at any given time. Hold nothing back and you’ll have nothing to regret.
Life boils down to a series of choices. Obviously we can’t control what it may throw at us, but we can control how we react. We can’t stop feeling angry, frustrated or whatever; we can however choose not to display, or worse still direct, those negative emotions at a loved one.
Easier said than done? Maybe, but who said doing the right thing is always easy?
It’s never too late to aspire to be better, and so long as you continue to communicate with your kids, they’ll recognise that you harbour that goal even when circumstances make it a struggle to achieve. It’s the ambition you have and the desire to achieve it that counts.  Trust me, your child will show understanding provided you give them genuine reasons for the times you fall short, and demonstrate that it’s not for the lack of trying.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people wish they could be better parents or have a stronger relationship with their kids. Don’t bloody wish it, do it. Make it happen instead of whining!
If you ask what’s stopping them they invariably tell you; reeling out a list of excuses and reasons why it’s not their fault. They already have the answer so why not just fix the problem?
Doing nothing is a choice. Sitting in the pub moaning and not fighting for a better relationship with their kids is a choice. In fact any absence that isn’t linked to providing for their family is a choice.
I’m sorry, but these people have no right to express regret when they still have a chance to do something about it. The creative language used in order to abdicate responsibility would be better served being put to use rebuilding the bridges they claim are so in need of repair.
Who cares if there aren’t enough hours in the day to fit everything in? So what if hobbies go out of the window and friendships dwindle because you can’t invest the necessary time? As a parent the selfless thing to do is put ourselves a very distant second, and invest as much energy as we’re capable of into our children.
Doing anything less is a distinct choice, and one we’d only live to regret.
That’s not to say that all other relationships must be sacrificed. Far from it. It’s vital for your own mental well-being to have a mutually supportive network around you. These people will support your relationship with your child and understand when you can’t be as available for them as you’d like.
These people will be a link to your identity beyond parenthood, and may well be in the same position. They will form your inner circle, so be selective about who you ‘choose’ to let in.


Related: 10 Lies Parents Shouldn’t Tell Their Kids