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  • Writer's pictureIrina Adams

Good Enough Parenting

When we become parents, the meaning of the saying that parenting is the hardest but most rewarding job you will ever have becomes intimately felt. Indeed, the quality of one’s childhood has an overwhelming effect on the course of adult life. As parents we are worried and baffled about making sure we do the right thing at the right time with the right means and wish nothing more than our bundles of joy to grow up happy and have fulfilling lives. But what are these “right things” and how do we do them?

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, children experience their world through their relationships with parents and other caregivers. Safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments are the most important factors for their healthy development. It’s very important for your child that they can rely on you to be aware and respond to not only their basic needs, but also provide emotional nurturing and comforting. The concepts of "good enough parent" was coined by Donald Winnicott, pediatrician and psychoanalyst who influenced and transformed our understanding of raising children and their development. Donald Winnicott has lots to teach us about how to look after children as well as how not to aim for perfection.

According to his theory, which is supported by years of modern research, when you relate to your children it’s not possible to always be a wonderful or perfect parent simply because there is no such thing. Being “good enough’ it’s about providing your child with consistent nurturing and ensuring that they grow emotionally and physically healthy. Again, you just need to be "good enough,” which entails putting children’s needs first and being emotionally present and providing consistent and routine care.

Of course, it’s easy to say, but certainly challenging to do. No one is born knowing what good or good enough parenting is, and especially how it looks in practice. And it’s especially hard to figure out what to do for those parents whose childhood was not exactly what we would call “good enough.” The good news is that parenting skills can be learned and seeking these skills is in itself a sign of a being a “good enough parent.” Yes, being a good parent its very much about LEARNING…Learning HOW to be patient, consistent, and DO your best on a moment to moment basis.

Over ten years of my clinical experience working with individuals who suffer from the effects of childhood/developmental trauma and parents who struggle with connecting and supporting their children in heathy ways has allowed me to have a unique clinical and practical appreciation on how important this "good enough" parenting is for both the child’s and parents’ emotional and physical wellbeing. Talking to hundreds of parents I hear a lot about the frustration, worries and trials of bringing up children. While their challenges are quite unique, their hopes and desires tend to be connected to this– how do I teach my child accountability and discipline without losing their respect and my cool.

In my parenting classes, workshops or individual sessions I help parents to not only understand how to meet their child’s needs and discipline them, but also how to lovingly use logical consequences and teach them to become responsible, competent and caring individuals. Indeed, bringing up a child is undeniably one of the most amazing, joyful and emotionally rewarding thing you'll ever do…and I can help to learn HOW to be a “good enough parent” and how to take simple actions early on so your children avoid very painful ones later.

Get in touch with me by email or phone and visit my website for useful parenting tips and workshop announcements.

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