Are you a good enough parent? What parent doesn’t ask him or herself this question hundreds times. I know I did as a parent and I sometimes still do as a parent of adult children and  grandparent of six young ones. Was I good enough at laying the foundation for my children to grow and blossom? Did I mess things up so much that my children are paying the price? Wow! These negative thoughts can send anyone into a shame spiral!

Embrace the idea of being “a good enough parent”

Parenting and building a family is hard work. I made my fair share of mistakes parenting and learned from those mistakes. For example, if baby socks are too tight they will leave a mark for days! Can you relate to this one… Words I said in frustration were mirrored right back at me when my daughter was frustrated… in the grocery store… with at least 50 people hearing it… yikes!!

Self-compassion is allowing yourself to be human. Being a good enough parent is admitting your mistakes, learning from them, and doing better in the future. This is not, however, saying “I can’t help my behavior- It’s just who I am.” and not taking responsibility. Practicing and teaching ways to be emotionally kind to yourself will pay off big in your relationships with your spouse/co-parent and children. By managing your self-talk and voicing when you messed up and how you can do better will show that you are strong and resilient enough to handle whatever comes your way. Self-compassion is a part of the ongoing process of building emotional competence.

I took some highlights from The Good Enough Parent is the Best Parent which looks at Bruno Bettelheim’s six concepts for being the parent your child needs. Although I don’t agree with all his psychoanalytic views of parenting found in his published book, I do agree with these six concepts for being a good enough parent. (The side comments are all mine.)

  • Good enough parents do not strive to be perfect parents and do not expect perfection from their children.(Stop comparing yourself to others- no one is perfect no matter what you see on social media.)
  • Good enough parents respect their children and try to understand them for who they are. (Children are unique and will try out new things- or decide they don’t like some things. Forcing them to be little “adult clones” can end badly. The world needs them to be who they were created to be.)
  • Good enough parents are more concerned for the child’s experience of childhood than with the child’s future as an adult. (Growing up happens way too fast. Let children see the wonder of the world as a child while they can.)
  • Good enough parents provide the help that their children need and want, but not more than they need or want. (Have we had enough of children feeling “entitled” to more and more stuff? No hovering and smothering. It’s ok to say “no”.)
  • The primary tools of good enough parenting are conscious reflection, maturity, and empathy. (Check in with yourself- how are you doing? )
  • Good enough parents are confident that their good enough parenting is good enough. (You can handle this. You were, are, and will be good enough. Keep growing.)

Now What?

If you need help discovering how to be a good enough parent/co-parent, or want help working through other family issues, please call me.

Also, if you are interested in learning more about individual, couple, family therapy, or supervised parent/child time please call me for a 15 minute consultation 940-222-8703 Ext. 705. To schedule an appointment online go to and click on “Dr. Pam”.

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