A Test to Judge How Good Your Parents Were

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strangely and rather awkwardly it seems

that no human being can ever really grow

up sane unless it's been loved very

deeply by somebody else for a number of

years in its early life but we're still

learning what good parents might

actually be like how good were yours

here are eight principles of good

parenting that you might use to grade


a loving parent gets down to the child's

level at times literally dropping down

to their height when addressing them in

order to see the world through their

eyes they understand that a very young

child can't easily fit in with external

demands and that in the early days they

must be prioritized and placed at the

center of things not in order

to spoil them but in order to give them

a chance to grow loving parents

understand that their young offsprings

lives revolve around details that are by

any adult measure very minor toddlers

will feel enormous ly happy because they

can dig their nails into some putty or

have a chance to whack their spoon into

some peas with energy or say bar very

loudly and they will feel extremely sad

because pet rabbit lost one of its

buttons or a page in a favorite book now

has a tear in it the good enough parent

feels sufficiently resourceful inside

not to hold it against the child that

it's making a very big deal out of

so-called nothing it will follow the

child in its excitement over a puddle

and in its grief over an uncomfortable

sock it will understand that the child's

future ability to be considerate to

other people and to handle genuine

disasters will be critically dependent

on having had an ample fill of sympathy

for a range of age-appropriate sorrows

a loving parent will know how to put the

best possible interpretation on behavior

that might seem to others to be pretty

unfortunate the small child isn't just a

troublemaker but it has of course been

very upset by the arrival of a sibling

it isn't antisocial but it does find a

small circle of familiar people

especially soothing it isn't a nightmare

but it does surely need to go to bed

pretty soon this capacity for

imaginative kindly explanations will go

on to mold the workings of the child's

own conscience it will learn the art of

self forgiveness it won't have to

torture itself for its mistakes it won't

suffer the ravages of self-loathing or

ever when it messes up badly be tempted

to take its own life

the loving parent will feel sufficiently

sane to allow a child to be a bit weird

for a while knowing that so-called weird

is actually part of normal development

it won't get flustered that the child

has decided to pretend it's an animal or

wants to eat only red colored foods or

has an imaginary friend living in the

tree at the end of the garden the adult

will have faith in sanity emerging and

in the wisdom of exploring a lot of

possible options before choosing to

settle on reason it will be able to

remain calm over some intense Tantrums

and obsessions it won't need to shut

down irreverence at every turn it will

be patient around low moods and

unruffled by adolescents earliness if a

parent won't assign labels of a child

that might fix it in a role it was only

trying out it will be weary of telling a

child that it is the angry one the

little philosopher or even the kind one

it will allow the child the luxury of

picking its own identity

the good parent knows that children may

well cling for a long time and will

never dismiss this natural need for

reassurance in pejorative terms it won't

tell the child to buck up and be a a

good little man or a nice young lady who

can make me proud it will know that

those who end up securely attached and

able to tolerate absence are those who

were originally allowed to have as much

dependence and connection as they needed

there will be few requests to be brave

at the school gates

a good parent won't set themselves up as

an impossibly glamorous or remote figure

someone whom the child may be tempted to

idealize and ruminate over from afar

they will know how to be present and

very ordinary around the house dignified

perhaps but also on occasion bratty

forgetful silly and greedily keen to

have too much dessert the good parent

will know that parental quirks and flaws

are there to remind a child to reconcile

itself to its own humanity and also

eventually to leave home and get on with

their own lives

a good parent will know how to appear

very boring it will understand that what

a child chiefly needs is a source of

reliable calm not fireworks and

excitement it has enough of these inside

its own mind it should be there in the

same place saying more or less the same

things for decades it should take care

to be predictable and to edit out at

surprising moods the child doesn't need

a full picture of every perturbance and

temptation coursing through its carers

Minds the parent accepts that mummy or

daddy are roles not full representations

it should be the privilege of every

child not to have to know its parents in

complete detail

the good parent isn't looking for a

balanced relationship it's happy to give

unilaterally it doesn't need to be asked

how its day was or what it thinks of the

government's new policy on insurance it

knows that a child should be able to

take a parent substantially for granted

the parents reward for all their work

won't ever be direct it will arrive by

noting in many years time that their

child has just developed into a very

good parent themselves put simply love

is the considerate tender hugely patient

behavior displayed by an adult over many

years towards a child who cannot help

but be largely out of control confused

frustrating and bewildered all in order

that this child might over time grow

into an adult who can take its place in

society without too much of a loss of

spontaneity without too much terror and

with a basic trust in its own capacities

and chances of fulfillment it should be

a matter of global consternation that

despite our many advances we are still

only at the dawn of knowing how to

ensure that we all have the loving

childhoods we deserve

how to overcome your childhood is a book

that teaches us how character is

developed the concept of emotional

inheritance the formation of our

concepts of being good or bad and the

impact of parental styles of love on the

way we choose adult partners