Jun 10

Guest post: “Good-Enough Parenting” by Katie Harlow, LCPC

Life often feels like a competition, and unfortunately so does parenting at times. How do you know if you are doing the right things when there are so many different opinions being thrown at you via our ever connected world every day? How do you know if your family relationships are healthy? Is it ok to admit you might not know what to do?

The good news is that you don’t have to be perfect in order to have a healthy relationship with your child. In fact, mom-and-daughter-god-enough-parentingresearch tells us that if we accurately respond to our child’s needs only 30% of the time, our child will have a healthy attachment to us- and have the foundation needed to build healthy relationships with others later in life. You don’t have to be the perfect parent in order to have healthy family relationships. What a relief. Making mistakes is ok, and can even be healthy. In fact, one of the best parts of parenting is that it is truly beneficial for your child’s development for you to not be perfect!

We often expect so much from ourselves as parents, but when we take a step back and consider what we want for our children, do we hold the expectation of perfection for them? We are the most important role models for our children; they look to us each and every day to see what is expected of them and how to grow into the people that they will be. If we think in that context, do we want to model the ruthless expectation of perfection or do we want to demonstrate a little bit of grace and flexibility with ourselves, and in turn with our children?

When we are able to model healthy expectations of ourselves, and in turn hold balanced expectations for our children, we are able to continue to sup-port their growth and development. We can model skills that will be vital for our children to learn and practice as they grow. That isn’t only “good enough” parenting, it’s ideal parenting in a world that can be difficult to navigate for all of us, parents and children alike.

– Katie Harlow, LCPC

Clinical Supervisor, School-based services