All credits to Mr Porter

Nurturing a child from birth to adulthood means navigating hurdles that push us to our limits and, as helpful as our parents or antenatal pals can be, we’re often left to figure out its fundamentals on the fly. Parenting is also incredibly pressured. That might come via the cult of the perfect parent – the polished perception some give of their offspring and child-rearing abilities, whether at the school gates or on Mumsnet forums. Or it might be from deep dives into the psychology of parenting, whether Dr John Bowlby and Dr Mary Ainsworth’s groundbreaking work on attachment theory or Ms Sue Gerhardt’s seminal Why Love Matters, all of which can leave us certain that however we approach parenting will screw up our children for life.
Luckily, alternative texts exist to help alleviate these pressures. The Good Enough Parent by The School of Life is an illuminating new compendium of teachings that approach parenting in an encouraging, philosophically engaging way. From its many valuable lessons, developed to help raise contented, interested and resilient children, here are five takeaways that all parents could benefit from.


05. Recognise the nuances of parental love

While the vast majority of parents experience a never-felt-before love for their offspring, we’re encouraged here to consider the principles of parental love – and how it might differ from other relationships. “Parental love is so important but maddeningly difficult to define,” says Dr Vincent. “But when it persists over the years it helps children navigate the often-confusing process of growing up.” Described as considerate, tender, patient behaviour towards a child who cannot help but be largely out of control, parental love might involve a sense of forgiveness that puts generous interpretations on behaviour that seems grating to others; a respect for their vulnerability and lack of ability to communicate their traumas; or accommodating strange phases, knowing that “weirdness” is part of normal development. It’s also, critically, the understanding that this love can sometimes be unreciprocated, but may ultimately be rewarded when the child evolves into a very good parent themselves one day.


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