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Healthy Family Functioning

As a parent, embracing the role of being "good enough" is not only a relief but a healthy approach to family life. Coined by D.W. Winnicott, a British pediatrician and psychoanalyst, this concept liberates you from the pursuit of an unattainable perfection in parenting. Winnicott emphasized that children don't need parents to be flawless. What they truly need is an environment filled with support, affection, and a secure foundation for growth.

In nurturing your family's well-being, remember that it's not about getting everything right. It's about aiming for balance and providing the best care you can

  • Clear, open, and honest dialogue where family members feel heard and understood. 

  • Also forgiving misunderstandings and miscommunications, which are inevitable in any family.

Personalized Care
  • Emotional support, understanding, and encouragement are readily offered

  • Also recognizing that sometimes, it's okay not to have all the answers. Sometimes, being there is enough.

  • Mutual respect for each individual's thoughts, feelings, and needs.

  • Also forgiving when someone falls short - that's an opportunity to model how to handle imperfection gracefully.

  • Healthy boundaries are established that allow for independence but maintain connectedness.

  • Also understanding that sometimes these boundaries may be tested as part of normal development.

  • Conflicts are resolved through constructive problem-solving approaches.

  • And redognizing conflicts as opportunities for learning and growth, rather than expecting conflict-free interactions.

Shared Values and Goals
  • A sense of shared values and goals that guide family decisions and actions.

  • Also, it's okay to sometimes agree to disagree.

Quality Time
  • Spending quality time together to foster unity and bonding.

  • Valuing the moments spent together, without the pressure of making every moment educational or memorable.

  • Being willing to change and adjust family roles and rules as children grow and family circumstances evolve

  • Accepting that sometimes these changes may be challenging.

Perfection is not the Goal | Kathy Russeth, MD - Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Good Enough | Kathy Russeth, MD - Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Good Enough Parenting | Kathy Russeth, MD - Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Acknowledging Challenges

Even "good enough" can be very difficult when there are added layers of mental health issues, trauma, or other complexities. If your family is facing these additional challenges, don’t hesitate to seek support. Call me to provide specialized services tailored to your unique family situation.

Continuing the Journey
From Present Parenting to Personal Reflection

As you strive to create a nurturing and balanced environment for your own family, it's important to remember that your journey as a parent is not just shaped by your intentions and actions today, but also by the experiences and lessons from your own childhood.

While focusing on healthy family dynamics, it’s equally important to reflect on your own upbringing. This introspection is vital, not only for your personal growth but also for breaking cycles and ensuring that you don't inadvertently repeat patterns that you might not want to pass on to your children.

Understanding your past to shape a better future

​If you find yourself wrestling with feelings of guilt, blame, or conflict regarding your own childhood, know that these emotions are a common part of the human experience. Many adults grapple with how to honor and respect their parents, even when acknowledging that certain aspects of their upbringing were less than ideal.

Balancing respect and personal growth

It's possible to hold respect for your parents and the positive elements of your upbringing, while also recognizing and learning from their shortcomings. This balance is crucial in ensuring that you can both appreciate your roots and make conscious choices about which aspects to continue and which to change.

Healing from the past

Feelings of guilt or blame can be overwhelming, but they can also be catalysts for deep healing and understanding. Therapy can be an invaluable tool in this journey, helping you to unpack your feelings, understand how your past influences your current parenting and relationship style, and develop strategies to foster the kind of relationships and environment you aspire to create.

Embracing Your Path

As you navigate your role as a parent or consider your role in your immediate family or family of origin, remember that your experiences as a child give you unique insights. They can empower you to build a life that reflects not only your values and goals but also your understanding of what it means to grow up feeling loved, supported, and respected.

General Resources

The AACAP Facts for Families is a comprehensive resource provided by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, offering accessible, expert-reviewed information on a wide range of mental health topics, disorders, and treatments relevant to children and adolescents. This resource serves as a valuable tool for parents, caregivers, and educators seeking to understand and support the mental well-being of young people. is the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) website for families. On this site, parents and caregivers can find information about everything related to their child's health and development, including articles related to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and trauma

Specific Populations

This comprehensive guide by CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) offers invaluable resources for managing ADHD in children. It emphasizes the importance of early intervention, informed parenting, and creating supportive home and school environments. The website provides a wealth of information on ADHD, including diagnosis, treatment options, educational rights, and practical tips for daily life.

The Autism Society of Greater Wisconsin offers a comprehensive resource hub for individuals, families, and professionals affected by autism, providing support, education, and advocacy to foster understanding and acceptance in the community. Their website serves as a vital gateway to access a variety of programs, events, and resources tailored to meet the unique needs of those on the autism spectrum.

PFLAG is a leading organization for LGBTQ+ individuals, their families, and allies, providing a supportive network of education, advocacy, and resources. Their website is a valuable portal for accessing a wealth of information, support groups, and tools to foster an inclusive and accepting environment for the LGBTQ+ community.

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