Defining a good person can provide many different definition depending on who you ask. The same is true for trying to define a good parent. However there are some generalizations of a good parent that are common among American society. Parents should have a foundation of love where they actually care about the child. This includes giving attention and showing affection to the child. Parents must be able to create and sustain a good family environment. Possessing the resources and capital to be able to support the baby for many years after their birth is just a small part of this. A good parent should also be a good person. They should be able to take care of themselves and have the general characteristics of patience, care, responsibility, and understanding. A good parent is someone who can provide love, life necessities for their child and themselves.
If a parent does not love their child there is no hope in them being a good parent. Love is the most essential quality in creating a constructive parent child relationship. When there is no love present in the parent it will create problems in the child. A strong foundation based on love is very beneficial in making a good parent, however if the parent is unable to express their love, and the child does not know their parents love them, it is useless. Giving the child an adequate amount of attention and showing affection are two good examples of how a parent can show their child they love them.
In Ordinary People there is a significant lack of expressing love between Beth and her son Conrad. It is questionable if she even does love Conrad. If she does love him, she barely acknowledges his existence, or she tries her best not to. This can be seen many times throughout the movie, however the best example is the dining room scene. Conrad is asking if he can help her with anything and she replies by saying he should clean his closet which is dirty.