Saturday, May 14, 2011

Parenting

I'm not a parent and the chances that I could ever be one are about zero. That makes me somewhat reluctant to offer advice to those who are. But I was a child once and I was a teacher of young people for thirty-five years, and I've known several thousand kids, so I do have opinions about parenting — and this paragraph seems right to me. Via Kevin DeYoung [who got it from Collin Hansen], a quotation from David Brooks's The Social Animal about "good enough" parenting:
If there is one thing developmental psychologists have learned over the years, it is that parents don’t have to be brilliant psychologists to succeed. They don’t have to be supremely gifted teachers. Most of the stuff parents do with flashcards and special drills and tutorials to hone their kids into perfect achievement machines don’t have any effect at all. Instead, parents just have to be good enough. They have to provide their kids with stable and predictable rhythms. They need to be able to fall in tune with their kids’ needs, combining warmth and discipline. They need to establish the secure emotional bonds that kids can fall back upon in the face of stress. They need to be there to provide living examples of how to cope with the problems of the world so that their children can develop unconscious models in their heads. (60-61)
The elements of "good enough" parenting:
  • Creating stable and predictable rhythms and routines
  • Meeting needs with both love and appropriate discipline
  • Providing a secure refuge from which to venture out
  • Being examples of good behavior
One of the hymn paraphrases of the 23rd Psalm ends with these words:

There would I find a settled rest,
While others go and come,
No more a stranger, nor a guest;
But like a child at home.

A "good enough" home seems like just about all anyone could want.

Good Enough – Kevin DeYoung, My Shepherd Will Supply My Need
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