Positive Parenting Quotes for Raising Happy Children

young smiling daughter hugging her mom
Do you ever stop in those tough parenting moments and wonder how your caretaker did it? The trials are real, but more than a few others have traveled the road before us, sharing some of their most valuable wisdom along the way. These quotes can offer a boost of parenting inspiration when we need it most.

  1. Fred Rogers had a rare talent for teaching children (and their parents) about the meaning of acceptance, the importance of kindness, and the joy of helping everyone in the neighborhood. He shared the importance of encouraging children to be their true selves:
"If the day ever came when we were able to accept ourselves and our children exactly as we and they are, then, I believe, we would have come very close to an ultimate understanding of what 'good' parenting means." 

  1. Claudia Alta "Lady Bird" Johnson, First Lady and wife of the 36th President of the United States, recipient of both the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and most often remembered for her groundbreaking work in conservation shared the importance of a parent's vote of confidence:
"Encourage and support your kids because children are apt to live up to what you believe of them." 

  1. L.R. Knost is a social justice activist, founder of a children's rights advocacy and family consulting group, and the award-winning author of Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages. On parenting, he says:
"It's not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It's our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless." 

  1. Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor in Texas where she has spent the last two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy. She is also the author of five number one New York Times bestsellers. Her TED talk, The Power of Vulnerability, is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world with over 50 million views. Commenting on parenting, she says:
"I’m not a parenting expert. In fact, I’m not sure that I even believe in the idea of 'parenting experts.' I’m an engaged, imperfect parent and a passionate researcher. I’m an experienced mapmaker and a stumbling traveler. Like many of you, parenting is by far my boldest and most daring adventure."

  1. Rose Kennedy lived a full life through her role as an American philanthropist, socialite and mother of nine children that would include one U.S. president and two senators.  She said of motherhood:
"I looked on child-rearing not only as a work of love and duty but as a profession that was fully interesting and challenging as any honorable profession in the world and one that demanded the best that I could bring to it." 

  1. Sheryl Sandberg is a billionaire American business executive, philanthropist, and the chief operating officer at Facebook since 2008. In her book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, she explains that as the mother of two, she also understands:
"Guilt management can be just as important as time management for mothers." 

  1. Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery in Maryland twenty-three years before the start of the Civil War and became a passionate leader of the abolitionist movement, famous for his oratory prowess and antislavery texts. He understood in a deeply personal way that:
"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." 

  1. Kristin Armstrong is the most decorated U.S. women's cyclist of all time. She is a three-time Olympic Gold Medalist. She also became the oldest female cyclist in history to win an Olympic medal when she won gold a day before her 43rd birthday. In talking about her accomplishments she said:
"I’m a mom first. I’m a cyclist second.” and "I feel like I’m able to do what I love to do and still manage a family and have that balance…just because you have a family or a child doesn’t mean that you have to stop going after what you dream of individually."

  1. Joey Chi Yung Wat takes great pride in her Chinese background that includes working in a plastic flower factory at age nine, and then beginning work at a restaurant at fifteen.  She now serves as CEO of Yum China Holdings, Inc., with more than 10,000 restaurants in its portfolio. She told Forbes Asia in 2019:
"I'm a mom. Nothing is more important than childcare. Not even my job." 

  1. Tom Lambert is a parenting coach and author of the popular, Dad’s Playbook: Wisdom for Fathers from the Greatest Coaches of All Time. He believes in the power of praising children for their good behavior.  He advises:
"It may seem hard to believe when you're struggling with your kids, but children really do want to please their parents. Nothing makes a child happier than the pride they feel when receiving praise from their mother or father. This desire to please our parents is so strong that it lasts right into adulthood."

  1. Indra Nooyi was the CEO of PepsiCo. She was the first female and foreign-born employee to hold the position and led the way to an 80% rise in the company's revenue.  In 2017, Indian-born Nooyi was ranked second on Fortune's Most Powerful Women in Business list. She was known throughout the company to be open about the pressures and importance of balancing home and work life. She once described how she stayed focused on her family life with a high profile and demanding career:
"At the end of the day, don’t forget that you are a person, don’t forget you are a mother, don’t forget you are a wife, don’t forget you are a daughter. Because in the end, no matter how much money you make and how much success you create, what you are left is family, friends and faith."

  1. Oprah has made a mission of helping organizations that serve children, families and communities. Her foundation focuses specifically on youth education and has opened doors for countless children and adults. As a global media leader, producer, actress and committed philanthropist, she doesn't place limits on her responsibility for children across the globe:
"Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother."

  1. Billy Graham was an evangelist and father of five children. Providing spiritual counsel for every U.S. president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama, he preached to massive indoor and outdoor rallies, and his sermons were regularly broadcast on radio and television. He continues to garner respect for his strong beliefs and teachings on family:
"A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society." 

  1. Jacinda Ardern is a young government leader who set a precedent when she took six weeks maternity leave after giving birth to her daughter and announcing that her partner would become a stay-at-home dad. In 2017, she became the youngest female leader in the world when she became Prime Minister at age thirty-seven. She shares her parenting approach:
"I might be at the odd press conference with a little bit of spill on me because I'm not going to hide the imperfections of parenting. I don't think anyone needs that." 

  1. Walt Disney was the premier pioneer of the animation industry. He was an American entrepreneur, animator, writer, voice actor and film producer with a special way of sharing dreams that not many could have ever even imagined.  His global legacy continues to teach children and adults alike to not only wish upon a star, but that:
"Most things are good, and they are the strongest things; but there are evil things too, and you are not doing a child a favor by trying to shield him from reality. The important thing is to teach a child that good can always triumph over evil." 

  1. Emilie Buchwald is a poet, children’s author, co-founder of independent publisher Milkweed Editions and founder and publisher of The Gryphon Press. She has been honored with numerous awards for her work and edited more than 200 award-winning books. Buchwald shared how parents can help children embrace a love of reading at a young age:
"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents."

  1. Dr. Tim Kimmel is the author of many books including Grace Based Parenting and Grace Filled Marriage. He is the founder and Executive Director of Family Matters, whose goal is to see families transformed by God’s grace into instruments of reformation and restoration. Dr. Kimmel loves when churches and families are healthy and strong. He offered this wisdom about raising resilient kids:
"Children who know they are loved, know they have a purpose, and know they have a hope are prepared for anything this world wants to dish up."

  1. Barbara Kingsolver is a multiple New York Times bestselling author and scientist with a passion for social justice. She started her career as a science writer and went on to write acclaimed books that focus on how humans engage with nature and their communities. In her novel Pigs in Heaven, Kingsolver writes this bittersweet truth about successful parenting:
"But kids don't stay with you if you do it right. It's the one job where, the better you are, the more surely you won't be needed in the long run." 

  1. Dr. Benjamin Spock, renowned pediatrician, gave generations of parents advice on raising healthy and happy children. His book Baby and Child Care (1946) is one of the bestselling books of the 20th century and has been updated to reflect the challenges of modern childrearing. Dr. Spock shared this simple and powerful advice to empower parents:
"Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do." 

  1. Margaret Mead was a cultural anthropologist, author, speaker, professor and curator at the American Museum of Natural History. She studied primitive cultures on two dozen trips to the South Pacific, emerging as an influential voice with her first book Coming of Age in Samoa (1928), an account of her observations on child development in Samoa. Her work made her a national expert on family life and parenting. Mead shared her belief in raising children who are independent thinkers:
"Children must be taught how to think, not what to think."

If we're willing to take the time to look for it, encouraging sources of parenting inspiration are never too far away. Each parent brings a special set of life experiences and knowledge, but the goal of wanting to provide the very best for our children remains timeless.

Laura Jackson is a freelance writer based in Hilton Head, S.C. with her husband and two teenagers.