“Our kids will be in therapy,” Brene Brown half-jokes. She’s a
researcher studying shame and vulnerability; her husband is a
pediatrician; together, they’ve got two children.
But even if their kids do wind up on the proverbial couch, Brown
will hardly think she’s failed as a parent.
On an episode of Lewis Howes’ podcast, “The
School of Greatness,” Brown said there are only two types of
kids you can raise: “kids who ask for help when they need it and
kids who won’t. And that’s as good as it gets, to raise a kid
who’ll ask for help.”
Brown’s parenting philosophy reflects her overall
life philosophy, one that she’s explored in bestselling
books and mega-hit TED Talks: Letting
yourself be vulnerable is the bravest thing you can do, and the
only way to truly be successful. So as a parent, the best
strategy is to accept imperfection — in your kids and in
Brown herself has spent a lifetime struggling with the message
her parents passed onto her: Emotional vulnerability is something
to be avoided at all costs.
In her new book, “Braving
the Wilderness,” she shares a story about trying out for the
high-school drill team; when she found out she hadn’t made it,
her parents were silent, clearly disappointed, and didn’t even
try to comfort her. That feeling of unworthiness stuck with her
Since starting to study shame and vulnerability, Brown has hashed
all of this out with her parents, she said. And while she’s
raising her kids differently, she knows now that her parents were
doing their best raising their four kids.
On the podcast, Brown talked about giving yourself “permission”
to make mistakes and to struggle as a parent.
That sounds like something psychologist Carl Pickhardt
previously told Business Insider: Your goal as a parent
shouldn’t be to avoid repeating your parents’ screw-ups. Instead,
you should aim to emulate your parents’ best qualities.
Though she didn’t use the words specifically, compassion and
forgiveness are key components of Brown’s approach to parenting.
If you can feel for your kids, for your parents, and for
yourself, you’ll have a better shot at healthier relationships.
Brown told Howes: “I believe that 99.9% of parents are truly
waking up every day and doing the very best they can with what
they have. I don’t think there are a lot of parents who wake up
and maliciously try to hurt their kids, or screw up their kids,
or belittle or shame their kids. I think we’re doing the best we
can with what we have.”