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Those of you who read my blogs know that I’m all about “good enough.” No one needs to strive for perfection in parenting. Parents can be imperfect and still do a great job with their kids. In fact, The Good Enough Parent Is the Best Parent.
The term “good enough mother” was coined by British psychoanalyst and pediatrician Donald Winnicott. Psychologist, scholar, public intellectual and author Bruno Bettelheim later expanded the concept to “good enough parents.” Here are some tips:
Don’t strive to be a perfect parent or expect perfection from your children. Cut yourself and others slack and have compassion for yourself and others. Mistakes and failures are learning experiences, not character defects or self-worth arbiters.
Respect your children and try to understand them for who they are. Good enough parents “see their children as complete human beings right now, and their job as that of getting to know those beings.” Their parenting is child- not parent-centered.
Be more concerned for your child’s experience of childhood than with your child’s future as an adult. Understand that what your children do well in the present will provide them with a bright future independent of you.
Provide the help your children need and want, but not more than they need or want. Let your children know that you are there to guide and help them, but also that you expect them to be independent as well as to find other resources for support and connection.
Be reflective, mature, and empathic. Be curious about yourself rather than judgmental, think and act rationally, and be an adept problem-solver. Try to feel and understand life from your children’s perspective.
Be confident that your good enough parenting is enough. Believe you’ve chosen the best way to raise children based on scientific evidence and feel secure in your abilities while humbling recognizing you’ll mistakes—and that’s okay.
If you’re a parent, what have you learned about your parenting from this blog? If you’re an adult child, what have you learned about the parenting you received growing up? How can you parent yourself according to the principles above? There’s no time like the present to reparent yourself in a way that will bring you healing. No matter what kind of parents you had, you can choose right now to not make their mistakes and be good enough to yourself to make a positive difference.
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