As parents we often feel perplexed on what it means to be a “good enough” parent. Truthfully, We will all make a plethora of mistakes as parents; we may spank out of anger, loose our cool, enable or spoil, ignore our children’s feelings, or just simply put our needs first and not get into our children’s world enough. However, thank God, we do not need to be a perfect parent, the reality is we just need to be “a good enough” parent for our children to thrive in life. So, with that being said; what is “a good enough parent”? A Good Enough Parent strives to:
- Teach and Practice Consistency with Discipline. For the record, “good enough parents” struggle with being consistent, where as the ineffective parent does not do any discipline or does way too much discipline. (Discipline is not to be confused with punishment, Discipline is rooted in the word disciple, meaning guide, direct, instruct, teach, and encourage, where as punishment implies punitive, anger, and shame. We need to give consequences without becoming punitive.
- Teach and Show Empathy for feelings. Give empathy when they feel sad, lonely, insecure, etc. This will help in creating children that are emotionally healthy. If you are disconnected from your own emotions, do a little work on emotional intelligence or seek out some therapy sessions. This is not to be confused with letting your children manipulate you by their feelings. Case in point, my daughter the other day ran to the doorbell to greet someone one and when she opened the door, she looked at the person and then walked away. When I approached her about behavior, she said, “well, mom, I’m shy, I don’t just know how to talk to people.” So I said, “honey, you can feel shy and awkward sometimes mom feels like that, however feelings of shyness are no excuse for rudeness, you still need to show respect irregardless of your feelings.” For the record, my daughter does not have a shy bone in her body, but she does have a manipulative bone that says “Momma, I’m not rude, just shy!” YEAH RIGHT!! ;)
- Teach Social Skills and Manners. It is important that we teach our children how to socialize with others; this includes listening,saying sorry, asking for what we need, sharing, and working through conflict with friends.
- Teach Hard work and Perseverance in the Face of Failure. Children need to be taught to no give up in the face of failure. Yet they also need to be taught that once in a while it is not only okay, but it may be healthy to quit or give something up because it means their listening to their inner voice. For example, a child has a bad soccer game and runs home and says “I’m done, I hate soccer!” If the parent gives into this emotion and lets the kiddo quit, we are teaching the child that anytime they have a negative experience they can just quit. Rather than that, we want to teach our child perseverance through failure as feelings of failure and rejection are a normal part of life. So instead, say “Honey, I know you feel bad about yourself because you didn’t do well today but yet we will all fail in life at times with sports, school, etc. Instead of quitting, I need you to work through this feeling. The most successful people in life are people that let themselves fail and keep pushing on. Lets finish this season off, if after the season is over, you would still like to quit because you just don’t like it, maybe we can a break from the sport or try something different.” In this latter situation, they would not be quitting because of a feeling of failure after a couple games, it may be more that the sport does not fit their personality and they came to that conclusion on their own.
Thanks for listening, what are your thoughts? For more information on Family Counseling in Denver click here.
Kelly Johnson MA, LPC