Are You a Good Enough Parent?

February 21st, 2012

You may ask yourself, Am I good enough parent?

It seems like you are on a treadmill every day, trying to get the kids fed, looking for clean clothes, feeling overwhelmed by piles of to-dos, and struggling to get your child to sit down and do their homework without an argument. Oh yes, and don’t forget the last minute reminder from your child that you are supposed to bring in cookies for tomorrow.

There are moments you may wonder if you are doing a good enough job as a parent. Your heart may feel heavy, like you have failed as a parent. Here are 5 ways to be a good enough parent.

1. Let of comparing yourself to others. I bet you know at least one parent who looks so put together at the school meeting and car pick-up. You know, the person who has pressed pants, flawless hair, and lipstick. You made it out of the house with your hair in a ponytail and clean sweatpants, and all the kids have a lunch packed. At that moment when you bump into Wonder Mom you can easily start to criticize yourself for not appearing so put together. Let go of the self-critical thoughts, and replace these with some reminders of how you are rocking it just fine- heck, you don’t have a stain on your sweats and you didn’t forget anyone at home. Pat yourself on you back for what you are doing right and let go of the self-criticism.

2. Ask for support and let others help. There are so many things that need to be done throughout the day, and you may end up feeling like a workhorse. Let others help with household tasks. Have a list of chores that need to be done each day, put this on a whiteboard where everyone in the family can see it. Attach a specific reward to completing these tasks depending upon the age of the child. A 5 year old may be rewarded with an extra book at bedtime after cleaning up their toys, or your tween may earn computer time when they pick-up their clothes and make their bed, or you may give your teen an allowance for mowing the lawn. Ask for support and delegate household tasks.

3. Let go of doing things right. Many parents have a difficult time delegating out tasks because their child or spouse will not “do it right”. The secret is that many children (and spouses) know that is they do it “wrong” you will likely step in and do it for them. Yes, they will manipulate the situation, so let go of having things be a certain way. Plus, who want to hear nagging and criticism while your trying to be helpful? Ditch doing it the “right way” and welcome others to help out their way.

4. Model being good enough. I like to model when my “humanness is showing” and I use this phrase often when I make a mistake. Yes, we are all human, we all make mistakes, we all get upset, try too hard, mess up, misunderstand, miscommunicate- thank goodness! Let your child know that it’s okay to make mistakes, to try and fail, to be good enough. We ask children to try their best and let them know it’s okay of they didn’t make the team or get the grade they wanted. Can you model being okay with trying your best, even when things are disappointing and don’t work out the way you would like?

5. Be compassionate with yourself. Research suggests that those who score higher on self-compassion tests may be less anxious and depressed, and this may even impact eating habits and weight gain. So practice self-compassionate activities such as taking time for yourself, writing yourself a letter of support and understanding when you encounter a problem, making artwork that shows your positive traits, and ways you can be kind with yourself during difficult times.

You do not need to be extraordinary to be a good parent, you just need to be willing to communicate your needs and show respect and compassion for yourself and others.

If you are in the Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, Venice Florida area and you would like more parenting support we can help. Schedule a Support Consultation here.

If you don’t live in the area, don’t worry. I created parenting resources to help children and teens you can immediately download  to help your child.

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