Last week I met a lady in the course of my work who really made me think. This lady works in children’s mental health, and she introduced me to the concept of the ‘Good Enough Parent’. (There is a link to another interesting article behind the blue letters).

My client told me that the responsibility of a natural parent is to provide 30% of their child’s parenting, or to be a ‘Good Enough Parent’ 30% of the time. The other 70% of our parenting, according to this theory, is done by others. Teachers, neighbours, friends. relations, etc.

That set me off thinking. Who do I have ‘parent/child’ relationships with, although I have no natural children myself. I have four nieces (well, a lot more than that, actually, but four that I have contact with), ranging in age from 24 to 7. I make sure that I am in regular contact with all of them and try to help them to have enjoyable experiences in life rather than buying them the latest ‘things’. The two youngest have recently been to their first proper concert, and the 18 year old had a contribution to her holiday this year. I try to advise the 24 year old.

I started thinking about my own parenting. I was certainly influenced by those outside my immediate family, although in my case the majority of the people I came into contact with were part of the church my family go to. Thankfully, I went to a normal school and was able to see what a normal life looked like to some extent. That probably helped me in my decision to leave home and seek my own way in the world at the age of 17.

I have the opportunity to influence a lot more people nowadays, through my work as a speaker and trainer. I spent two days last week with my client, helping her to gain confidence in her public speaking skills and supporting her with writing a presentation. At the end of the two days, I thought she was going to hug me! ‘

‘Thank you for being part of my 70%, Graham’ she said.

Then I got it. Being a ‘Good Enough Parent’ doesn’t stop with children. We are all responsible for each other! Isn’t that a grand idea? Whose 70% are you in? Who is in your 70%?

I’d love to be in your 70% too. Comment on this post and I will be! Let’s find out how we can help each other.