Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Good Enough Parenting

      I recently had the good fortune to spend a week in London, a city that always hums with excitement and never ceases to amaze me.  While walking towards a museum I came upon this gate pictured above.  It totally cracked me up and made me wish that I had investigated a little further, especially if they had a bookstore/gift shop.  It would be wonderful to have an official "Good Enough College" T-shirt!
    My parenting column today is a warning to parents who practice "Good Enough" parenting.  Let me explain.  Often I see parents who justify their parenting duties or lack of them as being "Good Enough".  Do any of these examples sound familiar?

  1. You want time to surf the net or catch up on facebook, plug in a DVD or let your child watch mindless TV for hours on end.  It keeps him/her quiet and you are free to do what you want.  
  2. Your child puts up a whiny fit for something and time after time you give in and let the child have what they have been tantruming for, because it buys you the peace you want and so what is the harm in it?
  3. Your mode of communicating with your child is usually yelling or endlessly repeating yourself and you can't figure out why junior doesn't really listen to you.
  4. You know you love your child, so you feel as if you are doing all that you need to do to be a good parent.
  5. You buy your children everything they want, so you always ease your mind when it comes to asking yourself if you are good parent or not.
  6. You allow your children to sleep in your bed and manipulate your behavior at night time so that no one in your family is properly rested. 
This post is written to you as a cautionary tale.  This mode of parenting has an end result that will not be pretty.  Being a "Good Enough" parent means you are justifying behavior patterns that will put you and your family on a road to difficulty in the future.  Constantly giving in to your children, putting their electronic experiences before reality, and allowing them to grow up in an environment based on laziness and manipulation will result in your children learning how to manipulate you, and also missing out on the opportunity for you to teach your children about important things such as communication, empathy and self control.  But it ALL starts with YOU! 

Don't settle for being a Good Enough Parent!  Find parenting classes or read and study parenting articles and books that will help develop into an effective and wise parent.  You will NEVER regret effort put into improving your family life.  Parenting is the most important job you will ever have.  Don't settle for anything less than excellence.  Being "Good Enough" simply isn't good enough for you or your children.

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