Let’s face it, no one is perfect. That being said, we all know there is no such thing as a perfect parent, even though we may pressure ourselves to try to be one. Rather than focusing on “good parenting” versus “bad parenting,” how about putting the spotlight on “good enough parenting?”
Let me ask you a few questions and we’ll go from there:
- Do you want to do the best you can for your child?
- Do you recognize where you can improve as a parent and make a conscious effort to work towards that?
- Do you forgive yourself for making mistakes and try to do better?
If you answered yes to these questions, then you are a good enough parent, which is often the best kind!
Although it may be difficult for some people to believe (lots of people think that kids are incredibly fragile), children are actually quite resilient. Unless a parent does something cruel or is abusive to a child, children will generally turn out well, meaning they’re going to be okay. And being okay is good enough. Remember, the same saying applies to children. There is also no such thing as a perfect child.
As you are well aware, children aren’t born with a manual. You either have to educate yourself on how to parent effectively or learn on the job.
While there are several parenting styles, successful mothers and fathers share attributes that give their children the best chance for success and happiness. Yes, it’s true. Good enough parents are successful parents.
Again, because no parent is perfect, most of us have a few of these attributes but must work on developing the others.
Following are 10 traits of a good enough parent:
1. Patience. I’m sure you knew this would be at the top of the list! Children are messy, noisy, don’t listen well, and at times exasperating. Kids can be pretty wonderful, too. But patience is a necessary attribute to develop when raising children. Learning to take a deep breath as needed can help more than just your parenting skills.
2. Multi-tasking skills. Managing the house, going to work, and raising children requires the ability to multi-task. Kids tend to pull your attention away from whatever you’re doing, and it’s not easy to regain your focus — especially when you’re trying to get dinner on the table before soccer practice and they’re asking for help with their homework.
3. Encouraging. Unfortunately, children quickly learn to doubt themselves and worry about the opinions of others, especially among their peers. One of the best ways to avoid this outcome is to encourage your kids. With enough encouragement and support, your child can develop a positive self-esteem and become their best self.
4. Intelligence. One of the hallmarks of intelligence is the ability to problem-solve. Children provide a unique set of challenges that have to be solved. A little brain power can help you to navigate the minefield that parenting can entail. Demonstrating the ability to problem-solve effectively also provides powerful role modeling for your child, which will help set the stage for their own ability to problem solve over time.
5. Flexibility. Many of your parenting attempts will fail. (By the way, just in case you need a good laugh, search for “parenting fails” on Pinterest!) You must be flexible enough to have multiple solutions up your sleeve. When one idea doesn’t work, you can always try something else. Plans are ever changing, too. It helps if you can go with the flow while remaining calm.
6. Leadership skills. You might be able to boss your kids around, but they’ll resent it, and they usually don’t forget. It’s more effective to have strong leadership skills and only throw your parental weight around when necessary. This positive role-modeling will encourage your child to develop leadership skills as well.
7. Dependability. Kids feel safe when they have reliable and dependable parents. They have to know that you’re there for them, no matter what. How much can your kids trust your word? Ask yourself how reliable your friends consider you to be and go from there.
8. Compassion. Children need to develop and experience compassion. Kids need understanding and comforting. Regardless of whether you feel they’re right or wrong, their feelings, just like anyone’s, deserve validation. Can you provide these things?
9. A sense of humor. Your children will give you plenty of opportunities to laugh throughout their young lives with you. It would be a shame to allow those moments to go to waste. Trust me — you’ll keep your sanity if you have a sense of humor and let yourself laugh along the way.
10. Self-awareness. Children aren’t sure how to act. Again, it’s up to you to be a role model. You’ll find that kids react to situations in ways that mimic your reactions. Think about it — they don’t know any other way. Do you have enough self-awareness to determine whether you’re a good role model for your children?
Parenting requires your utmost effort and attention. Successful kids most often have successful parents. Being a successful parent isn’t easy, but it’s easier if you build these attributes. You can develop these qualities with practice and determination.
Do right by your child and enjoy the process of not being perfect, but good enough, which is often the best kind of parent. That’s true success!