The great majority of parents strive for their children to grow up as happy, healthy, productive members of society.
In order to meet these goals, we as parents are told that everything must be sacrificed. If we don’t give it all that we have there is a chance that are kids will never move out of our basement, will end up unemployment, and we will turn the blame on ourselves.
This is what we at InnerParents refer to as the “parenting myth”. This myth is completely ruining the beautifully, messy, and unique experience parenting really is.
When parents strive for an impossible level of perfection, their energy and resources a drained and their children deprived of vital growing experiences.
The Myth of the "Perfect Parent"
Perfect parenting expectations begin with a natural, drug-free birth, and stigmatisms surrounding breast-feeding too little, too long, or not at all. That we must make our own baby food and store everything in BPA containers.
The truth is, you’ll go crazy trying to keep up with all of the things that “make” you a perfect parent in the eyes of society. And even if you do manage to achieve all of these things you’ll burn yourself out and miss out on the one thing that your child really needs – you.
Renowned psychoanalyst and pediatrician Donald Winnicott believed that there was a huge contrast in real parenting and these high-achieving ideals. Perfect parenting isn’t just unattainable - it isn’t desirable either. As children grow, he discovered that parents that let their child forge ahead independently were a lot better off than those that tried to meet every one of their child’s desires and wants.
Getting Out of Your Own Way
In fact, the single thing that stands in the way of most parents is striving for an impossible level of perfection. Attempting to attend to your child’s every want and need causes them miss out on a valuable life lesson: life is full of struggles and disappointments. Hiding this fact from your child doesn’t help them learn the necessary skills to cope with the trials of life.
In fact, Winnicott believes that the best way to teach your child these skills is by simply being yourself.
So what can you do to be the “good enough” parent?
The truth is, there is no one right way to parent. All you can do is be yourself and show your child the love that they deserve.
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