“Good enough” parents

In this TEDx talk, Dr Sue Whitcombe draws on her own family experiences to show that what children need is for their parents to be ‘good enough’, not perfect. Children need their parents to make some mistakes, some bad moods or words that rupture the attachment – ruptures that a ‘good enough’ parent makes sure get repaired as soon as possible. That process makes for healthy development for kids (and parents too!). 

But how do separated parents make sure that any such ruptures get repaired when children move between parents? Sue shows us how easy it is for separated parents who have fallen out with each other to turn their children against the other parent – to enlist a child in ganging up on the other parent. The child may have come back at the agreed time, but it may not be the right time for any rupture to have been repaired. As a result, harmful dissent and distance can be amplified.

Sue’s talk is a vivid picture of ‘good enough’ parenting – of what children most need from their parents if they separate.