Is Your Perfectionism Stunting Your Child?

Making mistakes is simply a part of being human.  Sometimes, parents may consciously (or unconsciously) set unrealistic expectations and standards for their little people and forget that they are not perfect.  Therein lies a real opportunity for growth in both our self and our children when we allow them to be perfect spiritual beings and imperfect human beings.

As a general rule, when it comes to the art of effective parenting, all of us should take the time to discover the motivation behind our behavior as it relates to raising our wee ones.  It’s especially important to identify the reason we might be placing impossible standards of perfectionism upon their tiny shoulders.

Pressuring Our Kids

Wanting our children to excel in life is a reasonable expectation, but when it turns into a pressure cooker for our kids, then it’s time to take a step back and get honest with ourselves.

We have to love our child enough to face the tough question “Am I expecting too much from  them?” and if we find that the answer is a resounding yes, we then have to dig deep within ourselves to ask the even tougher question, “Why?”

Typically, our need to control the behavior of our little people is a byproduct of the messages we ourselves received when we were kids.  And because these messages are stored in our subconscious mind, we may not even realize that we are acting out these messages until our children are negatively impacted by it.

The Problems with Perfectionism

There are different reasons behind the expectations of perfection, none any better or worse— simply different.

The most obvious kind of perfectionism is the one that develops when parents expect their children to be the best at any cost, and they are usually quite clear about it.  These children can become trophies to the parents, and eventually end up feeling as if nothing they do is ever good enough. As they reach adulthood, they are prime candidates to become workalcoholics, rarely feeling satisfied with their achievements.

A less obvious and more insidious kind of perfectionism is the kind that a child typically creates in themselves as a coping mechanism.  It usually develops in children who are faced with emotional or physical neglect and/or addiction.  These little people often have parents who are emotionally compromised, leaving them no other option but to parent themselves.  They work hard at being perfect, in hopes of somehow winning the attention and approval of their parents and feeling loved.  They also often become adults who never feel “good” enough or worthy of their accomplishments.

Things can only become more complicated when two adults with vastly different internal stories about perfection come together to co-parent, which is yet another compelling reason why people who plan on sharing the awesome responsibility of creating little people need to have some commonalities in their views before parenting.

Embrace Your Imperfections

There is nothing wrong with being imperfect, folks! In fact, it’s liberating!  This is the earth; we aren’t supposed to be perfect here. The world is already complicated enough without us putting so many unrealistic expectations on our children. 

Our main job as parents is to be a good role model for our children. So instead of spending copious amounts of time trying to mold them into “perfect” people, why don’t we just let them see us embrace our own imperfections with a healthy dose of humor and let the rest naturally fall into place?

How do you celebrate your imperfect child? Tell us what you love about your perfectly imperfect kids in the comments below!

Tags : parenting   conscious parenting   mindful parenting   

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