Good enough parenting


We approached the writing of a parenting book with fear and trembling, so we feel a little compelled to explain what brought us here, as a justification for what may seem like the hubris of such an undertaking—why the need for yet another parenting book? What makes this book unique is that it is the first book that we know of that tries to explain how schema therapy relates to parenting, how to prevent schemas in children (or at least how to keep them from causing harm), and how to meet children’s core emotional needs. The short version of how our Good Enough Parenting workshop and ultimately this book came to be is that in October 2007, we attended a seminar called “An Introduction to Schema Therapy” by Dr. Jeffrey Young, the therapy’s founder. During a Q & A session, one of the participants asked Dr. Young, “Your theory states that “schemas” (automatic negative thoughts/memories/ beliefs) are developed in childhood—has anyone come up with a schema prevention program for parents?” Half in jest, Dr. Young replied that his life’s work had been coming up with the therapy, so he had never had the time to work on prevention, but please feel free to do so. We took him seriously, and privately expressed interest, telling Dr. Young about the parenting presentations we had been doing that used movie scenes to give parents awareness, since our lessons seemed to align with what Dr. Young said would prevent the development of schemas. He encouraged John to train with him in Manhattan, and by May 2008, Dr. Young gave our schema prevention prototype the green light. In the autumn, we conducted the first run of our new workshop, “Good Enough Parenting”, to a crowd of 600 in Singapore. As we began to train facilitators, we were asked, “When are you going to write a parenting book to go with the workshop?” Because we feel strongly that the best gift parents can give their children is to love each other, we had already developed a marriage workshop with an accompanying book, I Choose Us, as a kind of prequel to this book—Good Enough Parenting is really Volume II. We set aside a year to work on the Christian version, since our primary audience was church parenting groups. Later, the schema therapy community, several educational institutions, and even some government agencies became interested, hence the need for a secular version. So, now you know how this book came about. Please receive it in the spirit with which it was written, from two parents who understand only too well that we are not perfect! We hope you will be able to use it throughout your parenting journey as a guide to being “good enough”.

John and Karen Louis, Singapore