“Good Enough” Parenting is Better than Perfect

by | Aug 21, 2020 | Children, Post Natal Depression, Relationships | 0 comments

“Good Enough” Parenting is Better than Perfect

If you’re reading this, you’re most likely a parent who wants the best for your child. And if you want the best for your child, you probably tend to worry that you’re not doing ‘enough’ as a parent. This kind of worry often drives parents to want to be perfect – the sort of parent who never shouts or gets mad, who has a solution for every problem, and knows all the right words to calm every crisis.

No doubt, we want to be perfect parents because we love and care for our kids deeply. However, our kids do not need us to be perfect. They just need us to be good enough. A good enough parent is one who gives their child time and attention, and adequately meets their physical and emotional needs. A good enough parent also makes mistakes some of the time, and that is okay.

A study by Tronick and Gianino examined the relationship between mothers and babies, looking at how often a group of mothers were able to meet their baby’s emotional needs. The researchers found that these mothers were only in tune with their baby’s needs about 30% of the time, and that the babies were able to cope with the missing 70%. This doesn’t mean that we should only try 30% of the time, however, it does mean that parents are allowed to be human, to try, fail, and get back up to try again.

Being a good enough parent involves showing your child your deep love and care for them, while acknowledging that you are human and you will make mistakes. This is a great thing to teach your child – by your example, they too will learn that even when they make their own mistakes, they can always come to you, and you can figure it out together. Kids can’t learn this from a parent who never makes mistakes!

Citation: Tronick, E. Z., & Gianino, A. (1986). Interactive mismatch and repair: Challenges to the coping infant. Zero to Three, 6(3), 1–6.