Doing your best is your best bet

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
It is strange times when you can say both that "nothing much is happening" and that "events are moving at a fast pace" with equal validity, says parenting columnist Ian Munro.

Ian Muro
Ian Muro
I write knowing that by the time you read this our world is likely to be different, again, from last Saturday while our bubble is probably still very much the same, although maybe a little more fraught.

Our lockdown might have been extended or we might still be waiting to find out. It could be a big week ahead or more of the same. Some kids may be back at school in just over a week, or maybe not. Is my job still there or should I be updating my CV?

One thing that is likely to be happening is that, after three and a-bit weeks, our parenting skills will have been sorely tested. Our creativity is becoming somewhat exhausted despite all the ideas on offer and our patience with restless young people decidedly wearing thin.

This is the point at which it’s important to acknowledge that parenting is not an exact science, that, like our Government is having to do, we have to make it up as we go along; build the plane while flying it, if you like.

These are unusual times and by now, almost every day, we’re likely to be feeling that we are failing as parents. But we also need to acknowledge that every day we are also being successful as parents. Honest mistakes motivated by our child’s best interests are permissible. So is a little bit of impatience as we wrestle with the issues worrying us while nothing much and everything is happening.

"Good enough parenting" is an expression that sums up the fact that most of the time most of us do a pretty good job of bringing up our kids. Good parenting is about responding to our feelings and those of our youngsters. It’s about unconditional love. There is no magic formula beyond that.

Since we’re shut up together in our bubbles, we need to try to fit in some time each day to have fun with our kids, laugh with them and, once they’re in bed, laugh together. Laughter is a great healer.

If we can get through each day with everyone still alive and functioning okay, we should take a deep breath and relax. That’s good enough at the moment.

When things aren’t so good, just remember that every day is not only a new start for our children it is also a new start for us. After all, unless we do something deliberately cruel or negligent, our kids were built to withstand being raised by human beings.


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