Good parenting is praised, admired, emulated, and sought after. But good parenting is not always the best. When we are good at parenting, we tend to settle into status quo, and in doing so, we miss out on what is best.
Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase, “Good is the enemy of great.” Here’s the full meaning as stated by Jim C. Collins:
Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don’t have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.
This is a philosophy that parents often try to instill into their children in hopes that their kids will not settle for what is just good–easy, convenient, stable, status-quo–but that they would accept challenges, take risks, and work hard to become better than just good, but to be great, or the best.
Parents want their children to reach their full potential, to feel passion and experience deep fulfillment in life. So they encourage them to not just “settle” for any spouse or job, but to go after the very best.
But I fear that many parents are settling for good in their parenting instead of going for best and in doing so, they will never really know what they’ve missed out on.
Are you settling for good parenting or going for best?
First, let me make it clear that best parenting does not mean perfection. It does not mean that a parent is super mom or dad. What exactly is the difference between good parenting and best parenting?
Good parenting means providing for your kids’ physical needs. Best parenting means providing for their physical and emotional needs.
Case in point: My husband’s dad was a good provider for his four boys, but he was so busy providing that he neglected to be a dad to them, and the result is that they suffered from that lack of emotional connection.
Good parenting is supporting your child as they play sports or take music lessons, best parenting means supporting your child AND at the same time, letting them fight their own battles and learn from their mistakes.
Good parents step in to fix things for their children because they love them and want them to be happy, but in the long run, this is not what’s best for them. Best parents know that if a child is going to grow into a strong, responsible adult, they must find their own way.
Good parents set boundaries and family rules and leave it at that. Best parents have conversations about core values, the why behind the what of boundaries and rules.
“Because I said so,” is not the most persuasive and powerful parenting strategy. When your kids understand why certain things are important, they are more likely to cooperate.
Good parenting means mom and dad are consistent in their discipline. Best parenting means that mom and dad know that there is a time to be consistent–when it relates to core values–and there is a time to be flexible about things that are not so important.
This is also known as: choosing your battles.
Good parents only look for ways to punish their child’s misbehavior; best parents look deeper than that and aim to parent their child’s heart.
Grounding, time-outs, and other parenting punishments may produce short-term change, but for long-term impact, parents must get to their child’s heart. This is all part of teaching them core values that they will carry with them for life. It doesn’t mean you do away with groundings and time-outs, it simply means that they are accompanied by a clarifying and heartfelt conversation.
Good parents may settle for what is convenient in their parenting because they are tired or desperate; best parents understand that parenting is hard work and what’s best for their child in the long-run may not be the easiest option.
One more thing about Best Parenting…
Sometimes good gets in the way of best because good is where we stop, when we could be going for best. The greatest challenge in the life of a parent is not avoiding big mistakes like child abuse or neglect; it is making good choices which are not quite good enough.
Best parenting means taking risks, challenging yourself to grow as a parent, and being willing to ask for help even if you don’t think you need it. Best parenting means not only helping your kids grow and develop in their character, it means growing and developing right along beside them.
Don’t let good enough be your parenting guide; instead, let best parenting push you to try new things and challenge your own status quo as you look for ways to help your children become the best that they can be.
If you are stuck in good when it comes to parenting and would like to work on best parenting, I can help. I have a plan for moving your forward. Schedule a free call here.