Good enough parenting?


  • You really can’t tell what life is like at home from how children present at school.
  • In this guest post by sheep2763, asks whether her own parenting was good enough.
  • Good enough parenting is good enough.
  • How to support parents whose parenting might be perceived as not good enough?

This year as well as being SENCO I inherited the position of DSL (Designated Safeguarding Lead) – I do not mind this at all but it does sometimes lead to some serious reflections.

As a parent I have frequently asked myself whether my parenting was good enough. I used to see other people with their children and wonder how I could be that good a parent (for all I know they could have been wondering the same when they saw me!). I read enough and discussed enough with others to know that in general, good enough parenting is good enough. Striving for perfection is not really realistic – well striving for it isn’t a problem, expecting it and beating yourself up when it doesn’t happen, is.

My children are now all adults, they left home for university and have never really returned (to live) and are all able to look after themselves – I guess, therefore, that my parenting was probably good enough.

As part of my DSL role I  get called on to attend meetings, if necessary, regarding children at school through the holidays. This holiday I have attended one such meeting (virtually as we are still in socially distancing times). This meeting really made me think.

The young boy in question is your “perfect” child – clean, polite, friendly, inquisitive, helpful, resilient, articulate and brings an acceptable lunch; you would never know what home was like. The meeting was well attended by all of the professionals involved and the parents joined in explaining their point of view. One thing was very apparent the parents loved the child and he loved them –  when they were parenting him properly, he had talked to various professionals about the fun things that they sometimes did and how he enjoyed having fun and laughing with them – but we were at meeting due to a variety of incidents where the parenting had not been like this and he had been in positions that were not considered safe or acceptable.

At the end of these meetings everyone has to mark on a scale of 0-10 how safe they feel the child in question is in the current situation. Parents gave themselves a score of 10; their child was perfectly safe. A few questions were then asked about how they would have scored things after one of the incidences that we had been discussing, unfortunately at that point they lost all phone signal and we were unable to get their response and despite trying to phone them back their phone went straight to answerphone. None of the professionals involved offered such a high score.

It did make me think – where my children always as “perfect” at school as their child is? I felt my parenting was good enough but I also recognised that my children could be “self-directed” at times. You really can’t tell what life is like at home from how children present at school.

My children have grown up fine, they have turned into the sort of people I hoped that they would grow up to be. Will this lad grow up the same? There were discussions at the meeting as to whether he will actually start being the parent, taking over roles that are not really his to do long before he should. Will he slip from being a high achieving child to one who stops caring about school? He is currently resilient – will this last? Has he just normalised the behaviours he sees at home? If he has started to normalise this, what sort of teenager/ young adult will he become? We don’t have a crystal ball but there are a lot of people involved in trying to help the whole family.

My hope is that the family accept the help that is offered and engage with the services who want to work with them. I hope that they recognise what a great child they have and that they can offer him consistently good enough parenting so that he can grow up to be the great adult that I feel he can become.


This post originally appeared at https://sencosheep.wordpress.com/2020/08/04/good-enough-parenting/

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About sheep2763 25 Articles
SENCO in a small primary school with nursery

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