There is no instruction manual that comes with a child about parenting and yet, many books have been written about the subject with lots of do’s and don’ts and the usual 5-6-7-12 “key-things” that make you a good parent. Uuuugh! Feeling inadequate already? If you are at all concerned about your adequacy, your concern alone qualifies you as “good enough”!!
“You don’t have to be a perfect parent – just good enough.” ~ Donald Winnicott (child psychiatrist)
Each child is unique, each family is unique. Just take a deep breath and remember that you & this particular child are together for a reason. You were chosen to guide this child on his journey through life. You have EVERYTHING to connect with and nurture this child in preparation for his contribution to life.
You are GOOD for each other – your journey with this child were meant to be exciting and joyful.
You are preparing your child for a world that has no map – it really is uncharted territory. None of us know what the future holds. With the World being a “village” and technology as it is, life is changing every second. Children grow up with technology that they master with ease while we as parents are attempting to play catch-up! The environment of YOUR childhood is only a memory and that is a scary thought indeed. Any caring parent will have moments where he feels inadequate.
I thought Ron Hutchrafts’ analogy of parenting styles being Thermometers or Thermostats rather clarifying.
In his book about children’s needs, he describes the difference. You don’t want to be a “thermometer-parent” who “reflects the temperature” set by your child at the moment – hot or cold, loud or moody, nice or nasty; forever reacting to the changing moods and behaviours of a pint-size dynamo – who’s the parent after all?
You want to be a THERMOSTAT, setting the climate with each child at a consistent temperature. Whatever the cultural climate around you looks like, it doesn’t affect a thermostatic parent.
· You are proactive;
· You have a clear agenda of what you do with your children;
· Cultural weather changes have no effect on the climate you set in your home.
· You stay on course because you “look beyond their deeds to their needs”.
Most of us do have a clear agenda but we often fall victim to manipulation by child & society alike and hover over the deed, judging our adequacy & our child.
Asking yourself questions and staying in awareness about each child’s needs, their personality, and their gifts will guide you without doubting the boundaries you've set – thus staying consistent. It doesn’t mean we won’t make mistakes. Mistakes are not failures – they are only “miss-takes” and there is always a lesson in the “re-take” for both parent & child.
We learn as much from our children as they learn from us. When we respect that they each come for their own journey, we will make room for THEM to guide US as much as we guide them, making you MORE than good enough!
I joke with my children, calling them my "source of entertainment". We find things in each other (that could be irritating if we so choose) to appreciate as what makes us unique and endearing. - Have fun!
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Hutchcraft, Ron, 5 Needs Your Child Must Have Met at Home (Michigan, Zondervan Publishing House, 1994)