Let me start by saying that none of us is perfect, and no one is a perfect parent. In fact, rather than talking about “good parents” versus “bad parents,” I like to use the term “the good enough parent.” As “good enough” parents, we provide for our children and try our best to keep them safe. We are trying to raise them the best we can, even if our methods are not always effective.
We all may feel ineffective and inadequate managing our children at times, but believe it or not, getting through those tough periods in our lives can be the most meaningful thing that we can do. It can lead to stronger connections with our kids. We need to understand that parenting is all about the ups and downs, and not just the good stuff. And through these ups and downs, we can then learn and grow up together with our children. So we should keep trying our best as a parent and do not give up, even if we do not think we’re making a difference yet.
We must also realize that change will take time. As parents, we sometimes feel like we should prevent problems from happening and create changes instantly. Change is usually a process, not a single action. Our children need to play out the inappropriate behaviors and keep dealing with the consequences until they are ready for change, even though it’s painful for us to watch as parents.
It is also important we let our child be accountable for his/her behavior, be it good or bad. It feels wonderful when our children do something good, but that’s not their purpose in life i.e. provide an ego boost. We cannot own their achievements any more than we can own the awful things. They are out of our control. Remember, we are here to guide and influence our children, teach and coach them, encourage and love them, and then set limits and give consequences when they make inappropriate choices.
We all need people to support us and encourage us along the way. We cannot always remain confident and positive about everything when we are working on changing tough behaviors in our children. And we cannot always see the improvements we are making, either. Sometimes we need another person to point that out to us. That is why it is so important to have some perspective and support from others.
While it is not realistic to be perfect, aiming to be a better parent is good enough. It is something that we need to work on every day. There will be days that are better than other days. Some days we connect with our children and it feels worth it; other days we feel like we are back to square one. These are the highs and lows of parenting that we all experience; there is no such thing as a smooth ride without any bumps along the way.