Parenting Without Losing Your Mind

posted on February 25, 2013 12:08pm by

In this week's radio show on Parenting With Playdate Planet, I speak with Dr. Heather Wittenberg about being a good enough parent. She gives my listeners lots of practical tips and advice for handling some of the thornier issues of parenting young children, such as sleep, eating, tantrums, travelling, and potty training.

But my absolute favorite part of our conversation was something she said right at the beginning, which is that the research shows that parent and child are hurt, not helped, when a parent strives for perfection. How awesome is that?! We can all breathe a sigh of relief and let go of some of that parental guilt that most of us carry around.

For me, I never really strove for perfection because, frankly, I knew that I couldn't achieve it. I never thought that I could be the perfect parent. I'm not sure whether that comes from an honest self-assessment of my parenting abilities or unfounded insecurity, but there it is. However, I still feel guilty about all the ways I've possibly failed my children. 

I know intellectually that we don't have as much impact on our children as we think we do, but guilt is part of my cultural upbringing and hard to shake off! So I'm going to make a conscious effort now to remind myself that imperfect parenting is best for child and parent!

How about you? Do you agree that striving for perfection is not in your child's best interests? Are you able to let go and embrace being a "good enough" parent?

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