Do you ever worry about being a bad parent? If the answer is yes, you probably aren't one.
Here's some shocking news: children actually benefit from imperfect parenting.
Let me explain. In 1953, Donald Winnicott–the legendary British pediatrician and psychoanalyst–coined the term "good enough mother." I'll call it "good enough parent."
When we hear this term, we tend to protest, "I worked way too hard to settle for just good enough!"
The reality is, perfection doesn't exist. And it shouldn't. Every time we provide room for our children to be "a little" disturbed by the circumstances around them, we give them the opportunity to grow into resilient individuals.
Winnicott's good enough parent has two characteristics:
☝️ In infancy, they are 100% devoted to the baby's needs: responding to every cry and creating a sense of total satisfaction similar to their environment in the womb.
✌️ As the child grows, they start to provide room for tolerable discomfort: perhaps a gentle pat on the back as they cry to express frustrations and learn to go through with difficulties.
This doesn't mean:
❌ leaving our children alone in the process
❌ making things even harder on them by saying harsh things OR
❌ holding back empathy and ignoring their emotional expression.
What this means is: giving them just the right amount of support and letting them do the actual work of overcoming the challenge.
An example: let's say we're cooking and our little one wants us to read to them. Because we can't provide undivided attention right away, we can unapologetically say, "You really wish I could read to you now. It must be really hard to wait."
Saying something like this will give them the right amount of emotional support and gently push them towards coming up with ways to make waiting easier for themselves.
Resilience doesn't mean being invincible or isolated from challenges. Nor does it mean recovery. Resilience is the state of being able to go through difficulties with relative stability.
Only resilient individuals can thrive in the imperfect world that we live in. And going through discomfort is the only way to build resilience.
So this week, I wanted to write about a practical topic this viewpoint resonates with: sharing toys.
If done right, learning to share can become a resilience-building process. If forced, though, it might face resistance.
Waiting for our turn, tolerating discomfort, and accepting no as an answer are the actual lessons to teach our kids. I explained the how in the article. So much research went into this one. Hope you enjoy it!
🥄 Nurturing my favorite moms and dads
Why you shouldn't make your kids share their belongings: Tensions created over sharing are perfect opportunities to teach our kids valuable life lessons. Forcing them, though, is not the way to go. Here are some ways to raise good sharers for life.
Resilience theory & what parents can learn from it: Resilience is a skill we all want our kids to have. Here are some insights from the resilience theory to understand what resilience is and what makes children resilient.
🖼️ [New section!] Hit reply & help me name it!
This section will include visuals containing some heart-warming humor related to parenthood.
That's it for this week! ❤️
Send me your thoughts! I'm on Twitter and love seeing a DM in my inbox. You can also hit reply or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next Saturday!
Love, Basak (founder of Apparent)