I’ve always loved the idea of the ‘good enough’ parent coined by winnicott a famous paediatrician and infant parent psychotherapist.
He talks all about the idea that it’s impossible to be there for your child 100 % of the time. He noted that being there enough of the time is good enough!
To go into more detail he mentions being good enough requires the parent to be responsive and tuned in to the infant (and later child’s needs). He talks about being more immediately responsive in the early months when the infant is less able to tolerate their big feelings but tuning in as they grow and allowing the child a certain amount of space to express their negative emotions before we jump in to manage/regulate it with them.
Doing this provides the child a certain amount of space to self soothe, increases their ability to tolerate emotions and teaches waiting…skills we all need as we progress through life. He talks about providing this support by tuning into your child and knowing at what times we can give them this space and when and how quickly we need to respond. He says we cannot expect to do this 100% of the time but rather a good enough amount of times for it to benefit the child.
What I love about it is he also talks about how good enough parenting can look different depending on the needs of the child, so even among siblings, one parent may provide good enough parenting differently.
Basically what it all means:
-we don’t need to be immediately responsive 100% of the time.
-giving a child (not infant) a little space to express emotions and feelings is good for them as it teaches them the ability to self soothe a little, increases their tolerance of negative emotions and teaches waiting
-in order to be able to do this we need to know our child and really tune into their needs, as well as know our own needs/difficulties around tolerating the expression of negative emotions (like can we tolerate our child expressing anger or is it a trigger for us).
So try and aim for the good enough parent this week and let me know how you get on!