How To Be a ‘Good Enough’ Parent
Parenting: The act of raising children. Books and advice are found everywhere you turn, as if people haven’t been doing this parenting thing since the start of time. So I am here to really simplify, down to the bare basics of what it really means to be a good parent.
- First of all, you need to be a good enough parent. Not a great parent, not a perfect parent, not a better-than-so-and-so parent. If you accept this right off the bat, you are already worlds ahead of many other parents out there. There is so much competition out there these days, that if you allow yourself to get caught up in it, or in the latest trends, you do both yourself and your children a disservice. A good-enough parent knows the difference between needs and wants, and makes sure their children have everything the need. Try to also give them some of what they want. But not all of what they want. Nobody likes a spoiled and bratty kid.
- Accept that you likely have no idea what you’re doing. Really. Most of us don’t, and the rest of you are lying. We are all just winging and trying our best to do the right thing. And that’s good enough. We all know the parents that make sure to tell you why what they’re doing is the “right” or “better” way to do something. And they’re full of bologna. Every parent will do what they feel is best for their own children. And this will and should look different in every family. Wouldn’t it be boring if everyone did the same things? We are all different, our children have different personalities and temperaments, and our families all have different circumstances. Even children within the same family often require different treatment. So, I will repeat, just do your best.
- You are not expected to have all the answers. Grown-ups are just kids that grew up. There was no induction into adulthood, no certificate to earn before becoming a parent. There is no parenting handbook, no one place to seek all the answers. Knowing that you don’t know everything is a humble place to start. It allows you to ask questions and to ask for help when you need it. Often times, as parents, the answers come from trial and error. We might think we know the right thing to do or say, and it backfires horrible. So then we try something different. And again and again until we get it right.
- It is possible to love your children and also hate them sometimes. Especially when they are 14. Trust me. It does not make you a bad parent. It just makes you human. Children have a special way of knowing how to push your buttons, and they will do it often. Sometimes, you will be able to brush it off and ignore it. Other times, it will really get to you and you will get angry and frustrated and will wonder why you ever had kids in the first place. And then it will pass.
- Let your child know and see that you are human. Humans have a wide range of emotions. Don’t try to hide them from you children. Try to express your emotions in healthy ways so that your children are not afraid of their own emotions, whatever they might be. We’ve all seen our parents happy. But did you ever see your parents cry? Ever hear them argue and then make up or solve a problem? Your kids need to see you experience all different kinds of emotions and experiences and watch how you express them and deal with them. Whether the feelings are of glee and joy, to anger and frustration, it is all within the normal range of human feelings. Feelings are neither good nor bad, they just are real. Give them the gift of knowing how to navigate this by demonstrating yours appropriately.