Choosing whether to become a parent is a huge decision. Although children can bring unquestionable happiness, they also come with unimaginable responsibilities for their parents. This causes even the happiest person or the happiest couples to wonder if they’re prepared to raise a child. Psychologists have identified certain traits in people that show they are ready for children.

1) You have a solid partnership or solid support network.

If you’re planning to be a parent as part of a couple, be prepared that your relationship will be tested in ways you can’t possibly fathom in advance. If you have a solid partnership, you’ll support one another during this incredible stressful time.

image
iStock

You should also have a strong support network, whether you’re single or with a partner. That can be a family, close friends, or some other dependable group to lean on when things are hard. If you’re doing it all alone, raising a child will feel impossible.

2) You’re not having a child for self-fulfillment.

There is no more rewarding experience than raising a child. But that assumes that you want to put in the work to see your child grow into a responsible adult.

image
iStock

Parents have to be selfless in giving everything they have to their offspring. Paradoxically, that selflessness will lead to great self-fulfillment, but only if a parent truly wants this responsibility.

3) You can take care of yourself.

A parent needs to be secure in themselves before they’re ready to raise a child. That means making sure you have a steady job, make responsible choices, and act like an adult.

If you can’t take care of yourself financially, physically, and emotionally, you can’t take care of a child. Get yourself in order before bringing a child into your life.

4) You have self-discipline.

Your child needs a steady parent who follows through for them. In order to do that, a parent needs to be disciplined.

image
iStock

If you find that you have a problem finishing what you start or have trouble keeping your word, you may not be ready for a child. If you tell your child you’ll do something, you’d better do it.

5) You have an idea of what type of parent you’d like to be.

There are countless books that detail how to be the perfect parent. You’ll also get advice from other parents on how to raise your child. Ignore all of that for the moment.

image
iStock

You should have some idea of how you will be as a parent, and you should try to stick to that vision. You want to allow for some flexibility, because plans can change and life is unpredictable. But you’ll be a much better parent if you’re the parent you want to be, not the parent you think you should be.

6) You enjoy spending time with children.

Be honest with yourself: Do you actually like children? If not, you’re not ready for one.

image
iStock

You’ll be spending lots of time not just with your child, but with their friends and classmates. If the thought of being around children makes you cringe, you won’t be a happy parent.