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Good enough parenting is more than good enough

I wish people were kinder to themselves.

We live in a world full of competing and unreasonable expectations. Some expectations are overt, pressed upon us by others. But most expectations are covert, implied by our surroundings.

Parents especially have the pressure of being successful adult humans with fulfilling careers, healthy bodies, contented spouses, conscientious shopping habits, and Instagram-worthy homes.

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We have to do all that and at the same time be the sage guardian to a set of little half-clones who require constant vigilance just to keep them alive much less, ya know, developing into successful adults (who also have unreasonable expectations for themselves.)

That's a crushing amount of pressure.

Those expectations are not reasonable.

And I realize that I've made it worse by pointing them out.

But let's remember that kids have been growing up into well-adjusted, mostly-successful adults for the whole history of humankind, often in spite of deeply flawed parenting.

Kids are resilient and resourceful. Imperfect circumstances tend to bring out the best in them.

Sometimes I summarize this quality by saying, "Kids bounce." My wife hates it when I say that, but I don't mean in the physical sense. I mean in the emotional, psychological, and social sense. Kids are more durable than most parents in the 2000's realize.

Your best effort is probably more than enough advantage for your kid to live up to their full potential.

And if your kid had perfect parents who lived up to all those expectations you have, they wouldn't experience the adversity in which their character will be sharpened.

In adversity we are:

  • Challenged to find creative solutions to complicated problems

  • Hardened against uncertainty and injustice

  • Learn emotional regulation

But without adversity, we never have an opportunity to develop in those ways.

So I tend to think that "good enough parenting" is more than good enough, it creates exactly the kind of safe but challenging circumstances that make good kids into great adults.

Ray Deck IIIComment