It reminds parents they don't have to be perfect to do a really good job at parenting. It gives parents hope, because most insightful, conscientious parents are able to reflect on their own shortcomings as a parent. Sometimes it isn't until we become parents ourselves that we develop more compassion for our own parents, ourselves, and parents everywhere who not only are raising children, but also trying to support the financial needs of the family, balance work and family, meet multiple children's needs, and stay happily partnered. Parenting is a big job if it's done well.
Sometimes part way into living out the dream of having a family, loss occurs. There may be a death or a divorce which creates even more challenges: moving, financial stress, single parenting, more isolation, and even less support. The parenting needs to continue, and sometimes there is hardly time for a parent who is going through loss or crisis to catch their breath. Conversely, having children to rally and refocus for after a huge loss can be helpful and grounding. I am often supporting people in just this situation in my counseling practice, and try to help the person see their role in helping their children through a family crisis as a good choice for their attention, as opposed to dating again right away, or something else.
As a family therapist who has worked with children, teens, and families for more than 20 years, here are some of the traits I think good-enough parents need:
So the good news for parents is: you don't have to be perfect. You can be good-enough, and that's just fine. As Bettelheim wrote, "not only is our love for our children sometimes twinged with annoyance, discouragement, and disappointment, the same is also true for the love our children feel for us." For everything to work, we don't have to be perfect as parents, and our children don't have to be perfect for us to love them either.