Lots of things, but from looking around at kids now and having been a kid once, it seems that when you present kids with an appealing version of grown-up life that’s worth trying to copy, then kids have received a big part of good parenting.
When kids see their parents as unhappy most of the time, not really enjoying adulthood, the kids pick up on that. Kids hear what they see. And when parents are unhappy they’re prone to overparenting, like spending money on their kids to compensate.
I saw an art show lately that I liked. It was with paintings by two artists I didn’t know. About a week later when I saw it again there were two artist bios on the wall. The photos were distorted and strange, so when I saw the artists’ ages I thought it was part of a joke, they were listed as nine and eleven years old.
I asked someone working where the show was being presented who the artists were. I was told they were the kids in the bios! And their dad happened to be there, so I had a chat with him. I told him how impressed I was with his kids’ show and asked if he’d helped them do it. He said he only helped with the framing, and that both kids were home schooled and liked drawing.
The dad is a graphic artist and seems to be happy and content with his work. So I imagine he’s presenting a version of adult life that his kids find appealing. And they’re doing a good job of emulating him.