Pathways to Wellness

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Being a "good enough parent"

Children aren't perfect, and neither are parents.  If you seek perfection in yourself, or your children, you will be disappointed or worse.  "Good enough parenting" is about

  • Meeting a child's basic needs for physical care, nutrition, and protection
  • Being consistently loving, caring and committed – no strings attached
  • Setting and enforcing reasonable boundaries so that children can explore, grow and learn what is (and isn't) acceptable behaviour
  • Helping a child reach their full potential – physical, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually.

The good news is that most parents are "good enough parents" and most children do just fine.  The other piece of good news is that parents become "good enough" through patience and practice.  Every parent makes mistakes and has some regrets.  If only life were a video recorder that we could rewind and tape over!  Rather than dwelling on the times you lost your cool or could have been more effective,

  • Think about times when you were "good enough".
  • Make a list of your positive parenting qualities (like reading to your child most days, showing physical affection, being playful and fun, wearing a bike helmet) – keep the list where you can look at it when you are feeling insecure as a parent.
  • Be honest with yourself about what you find difficult about parenting and what you’d like to change.  Then reach out to someone you trust – a friend, parent, nurse, counsellor, doctor – to get support and assistance to make the change.

A "good enough parent" admits to making mistakes and learns from them.  What a great role model for your children! 

Listen to Dr. Christine Carter talk about how you can raise children who are happy and step up to a challenge without being perfect.  


For more tips on how to deal with perfectionism, and another great video from Dr. Christine Carter, go to Give up on perfection.

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