What is “good” parenting?

“Ok guys, let’s sit here and tell each other how we feel. I feel very happy when we spend time together and I’m sorry if lately it doesn’t happen too often. As you know work is busy at the moment…I feel sad though when I speak to you and no one listens to me. I feel like I’m invisible and I suffer.”

My three children looked at me with big eyes. They were sorry. I noticed their faces and realised that maybe the truth of their mum being sad because of their behaviour was too much. Breathe, I told myself. Breathe. I took a deep breath and went on. “Sometimes people who love each other do things that hurt each other, not on purpose, but it happens. So please, if I do anything that hurts you, let me know and I will change my behaviour”.

I was shocked by the level of awareness and compassion in my children’s eyes: they all stood up after a moment of commotion and hugged me so tight that I could barely breathe.


Photo by Benjamin Manley.

I’ve come to believe that parenting is a practice, something we can improve, usually by trials and errors.

But one thing is sure: parenting is about showing up for ourselves and our children as often, with as much kindness as we can.

Although there isn’t much consensus in parenting research these days, there is evidence that the relationship with our children is the single most powerful predictor of their physical and mental health.

When we engage with our children in a loving, consistent and responsive (enough) way, they will learn that they are worthy of being loved and that they are capable of loving others.

“Good” parenting is mindful: it can’t be like that at all times, but it starts with the parental effort to be present for ourselves and our children.

Presence is the most precious gift we can award our children with.

This is what my experience at Plum Village taught me:

“try to be present, in body, mind and spirit. You won’t make it at all times maybe, and that’s ok”.

Book your mentoring parenting session to discuss further possibilities.