Google+ Authentic Parenting: ‘Perfect’ Parenting, ‘Good Enough’ Parenting and Other Crap

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

‘Perfect’ Parenting, ‘Good Enough’ Parenting and Other Crap

When you spend some time online on Parenting oriented fora, it seems like there’s a race, a compare game... Who can do the neatest crafts, who gave up most for their kids, who does the most extreme new wave parenting. Parents are constantly weighing themselves off against another, online and off... Sometimes the verdict is in their own advantage, sometimes they feel less then the other, they feel guilty...

On perfect parenting

First of all, there is no such thing as perfect parenting, we all have good and bad days, we all have things to learn. A parent who doesn’t learn anything along his or her journey isn’t a good rolemodel either. It is important for your child to know that you are human, and fallible and the way we deal with our mistakes is a great learning experience for your child.

Perfection is simply not human and should not be something we aspire to, in parenting, or anything else, for that matter.

So what does one aspire to?

Good enough parenting 

Some claim that ‘good enough’ is simply enough... Personally, I find this a strange concept. Enough by whom? Yourself? Society? Your child? Often it sounds to me that this is just an excuse for slacking. Good enough is like throwing the baby out with the bath water: we can’t be perfect, so let’s just stop trying.

Shouldn’t we be trying to be the best parents we can be? I repeat: the best we can be, with all our flaws and errors. With all of our trials and mistakes? Isn’t that where greatness lies? To try, to fail, to try again and eventually come out better?
Shouldn’t we try to be great parents? There’s a great stretch of road between good enough and great. And isn’t most good parenting about the journey instead of the destination.

Now what if we all tried the best we can, with the knowledge we have, and commit ourselves to growth. Wouldn’t that be an ideal growing environment for our children? A life in which we strive to have balance, where we don’t eradicate emotions because they’re bad or not ‘peaceful’, where we take it one day at a time, where we let go of the guilt and hold on to the happiness. Where we treasure what we have and mourn what we lost? Where we nurture not only our kids, but ourselves too... Imagine the time and effort we win if we stop comparing and start caring. What worlds will open up if we don’t have to measure and weigh?



  1. I don't see "good enough" as at the opposite end of the continuum to "perfect". The term, coined by Winnicott, doesn't suggest to me not trying or giving up. Rather, it gives me reassurance. For however much we strive to parent "well", and to heal from our own childhoods so as not to inflict our unconscious (or conscious) wounding on our children, we just can't get it totally right. But we can intend to connect and to attune and when we screw up, as we will, we can repair and restore. And our kids will get that, when we intend it to be this way. That's what I understand by the term anyway.

  2. Yes, I do think it does depend a lot on how you fill it in. But I have seen this term being used as an excuse, rather than a way to better oneself...

  3. h and I don't necessarily see it as the opposite of perfect parenting. Just like something I hear parents say who know perfection isn't attainable

  4. I don't try to be the best parent I can be. I simply try to be myself and to authentically share myself with my child. "Trying to be the best parent" sounds like it's about striving for something, which sets me up for failure. It sounds like having goals which takes me out of the here and now. I find peace in simply being myself, rather than trying to be some kind of "best" version of myself.

  5. Perhaps those that are doing the comparing and trying to outdo everyone else are the one's that should take a step back and really look at the way they are parenting. Their journey must be really hard, as if being a parent is not hard enough.


I love comments! Drop me a line