'Good Enough' (NOT Perfect) Parenting - Play Nourish Thrive

'Good Enough' (NOT Perfect) Parenting

Do you feel pressure to be a perfect parent?! 🙋‍♀️ If yes, then this post is for you - there is an alternative!

The concept of the 'good enough mother' was coined in the 50s by psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott. It extends however to any primary caregiver👨‍👦

Winnicott proposed that at the beginning of a baby's life, a mother (or parent) is extremely attuned to the baby’s needs. If the baby cries, the parent immediately attends to them, which often includes sacrificing the parent’s own needs. I'm sure we can all relate to that 🤹

Winnicott argued that although this level of attentiveness is necessary at first, it is not sustainable long-term. As the baby grows, the ‘good enough’ parent allows the child to experience moments of frustration. The parent is empathetic but does not necessarily rush in every time. This may begin as only mere seconds, but increases over time as the baby grows. Winnicott believed that through this process of ordinary and tolerable ‘failings’ by the parent, the baby has opportunities for independent learning and growth 🧠 This in turn allows the baby to adapt more easily to an imperfect world as they grow 🌏

Examples of this in real life might include:
👶frustration w/ tummy time
👩‍👧attending to an older child or taking a breath and letting the baby cry for a minute
🧸letting them master a new toy w/out intervening
🌤allowing them to express a range of emotions

Some other cool ideas Winnicott had:
💥He was wary of children who were too obedient, believing that these children must have been taught to wear a ‘mask’ that was palatable to others, but this did not serve the child in the long term.
💥Winnicott believed in the value of parenting as the basis of a healthy society. He emphasised the benefits of ordinary acts of devotion parents do every day ❤

So according to Winnicott, the work you do as a parent is incredibly valuable, but it does not need to be perfect 🤗

Quote from D. W. Winnicott
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