While kids bring happiness to many couples, they can also become a source of disagreement when parents have different parenting styles. The result can be divorce.
Divorce will not make parenting differences go away. It could even increase them if you feel your co-parent does not live up to your high standards. Yet, research suggests that setting the bar too high when parenting may harm your children.
The pediatrician and psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott suggested that parents who try to be perfect produce children who grow up with more problems than parents who settle for being good enough.
What is wrong with aiming to be the perfect parent?
There is nothing wrong with trying to be a good parent. The problem comes if you try to make things too easy for your child.
Winnicott suggested that “good enough parents” build more resilient adults because they have let their children experience a little suffering and emotions such as sadness and frustration. Good enough parents also have more energy left at the end of each day and are more fulfilled as individuals because they are unwilling to sacrifice everything for their children.
The other parent may burn the dinner every time they cook or constantly be late to pick up the kids. They might not watch the kids as well as you do at the park, and yes, your kid may fall and hurt themselves occasionally when with them. Yet, if your children can take that in their stride, so should you.
If you can ignore the other parent’s faults and accept that your children will be fine as long as the other parent is good enough, it reduces the need for conflict. It will make it easier for you and the other parent to collaborate to reach an acceptable child custody arrangement.