New parents juggle multiple challenges associated with untrained parenthood. Pakistani millennial parents have their own set of unique struggles, which most of the time, with all due respect — adults from the former generation don’t fully comprehend. Parents nowadays are seen as selfish parents with less or no cultural and moral values. And to undo this judgment view of their elders, parents end up trying too hard to be perfect. There is a drastic shift in focus from self to family. Opposite to what they are perceived to be. Hence, the glorified identity of parenthood: self-centered millennials becoming selfless parents. But when everyday struggles put reality checks, they get petrified.
Striving to be perfect or ideal parents apparently is an innocent wish of a stressed, burnout parent. With good intentions and nothing malice. Everyone wants to raise a ‘perfect’ kid. The way I see it, this obsessional pursuit to perfection is a mild symptom of a serious, chronic, genetically transmitted disorder. Sadly, the epidemic of which is on rise. Few signs include people saying:
- ‘The focus of every decision is now on my child.
- Life is no longer all about me.’
First, Parenthood is not your identity! Crunchy moms, free-range parents, babywearing dads, single moms by choice, positive parents — give these names up.
Second, perfection promotes a tendency to blame. Underlying logic becomes: If problems arise, then they must be someone’s fault. Blame then translates into resentment and, if continuous, eventually results in an unhappy parental relationship or stressful family environment. And millions of research studies have shown that a stressful home environment affects childhood development in harmful ways. But wait, this is not what perfect parents are striving for. Hmm, ironic!
Parents don’t need to be perfect; they just have to be good-enough (GE) and get the job done. As my sister says: ‘Parenting needs to be like smart-study. You don’t need to know all the chapters but study enough to pass the exam.’
GE parenting is not mediocrity. It has to do with rational choices as opposed to a compulsive need to be perfect. This approach gives more importance to the child’s experience of childhood as compared to the child’s future as an adult. This is actually a handy approach for those who are looking for no-nonsense parenting tips. People as:
- Parents in joint family systems
- Working parents
- Concerned friend of an overinvolved/underinvolved parent
Good-enough parenting is more of a mindset and not just practice. It is a belief that the child will turn out to be OK, and OK is good enough.