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What does being a “Good Enough Parent” mean?

Key Points:

  • Being a good enough parent involves accepting your imperfections and embracing vulnerability to create an environment for your baby to thrive.
  • The idea of being a good enough parent is not limited to mothers; it also applies to fathers.
  • Being curious and present for your child’s needs and emotions, setting boundaries, and seeking support in the community are characteristics of a good enough parent.
  • Parenting is not about being perfect but about celebrating the present and enjoying the journey with all its ups and downs. Your best effort is truly good enough.

What is a Good Enough Parent?

In the 1950s, pediatrician and psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott introduced the concept of the “good enough mother.” He realized that striving for perfection in parenting is not only impossible but also not helpful for both parents and babies. He then proposed the idea of being a “good enough parent.”

Embrace Your True Self

Being a good enough parent doesn’t mean lowering your expectations or settling for second best. It’s about embracing your vulnerability, accepting your mistakes, and doing your best. Yes, we all make mistakes, but guess what? That’s okay! By showing your true self and being compassionate with yourself, you create a wonderful environment for your baby to thrive.

Not Just for Mothers!


Originally, this concept was referred to as the “good enough mother,” but now we know that it is equally important for fathers too. So whether you are a mother or a father, this term and mindset apply to you as well.

What Does a Good Enough Parent Do?

  • Accept Imperfections: Just as you are not perfect, neither is your baby, and that’s perfectly okay! Embrace their imperfections and let them be themselves.
  • Be Present: Stay attentive and responsive to your little one’s needs. You won’t always get it right the first time, and that’s okay too. What matters is that you’re there for them, doing your best.
  • Set Boundaries: A good enough parent sets boundaries and allows their child to experience manageable frustration. It’s essential for their growth and learning.
  • Be Curious: Always try to understand your child’s needs and emotions without imposing demands on them. Let them express themselves.
  • Seek Support: Remember that it takes a community to raise a baby. Don’t hesitate to ask for help and involve others in the process.

Celebrate the Present!

Parenting is not about striving for perfection; it’s about embracing the journey with all its ups and downs. It’s okay not to meet every need all the time; nobody can do that! Just stay present and enjoy every moment with your little one.

In the words of Dr. Alexander Sachs: “Aspire to compassion and authenticity, and recognize that your best effort is truly good enough.”

So, let go of the pressure to be perfect and enjoy the ride. You’re doing great! If you ever need help or have questions, we’re here for you!

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