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The Myth of the Perfect Parent

By Linda Sorkin, LMFT, Soul Empowered Coaching
The pressure we put on ourselves as parents is enormous. We want to ensure we are raising good humanbeings who will eventually become self sufficient, responsible and successful in the world. Often we takeour jobs as parents so to heart that we tend to feel tremendous guilt when things seem like they're not turning out the way we expected or anticipated. It gets even more exacerbating when we simply don't know how or what to do to in critical situations.

Parenting Pressure on our Kids

The same goes for our children. We may have such high expectations for them that we don't realize the pressure we put on them to keep up with our ideas of what being an "ideal" kid is supposed to encompass. Also, if we as parents pressure ourselves, we naturally, and inevitably transfer that pressure to our children. They may in turn internalize the need to be perfect in order to gain parental and societal approval. We may also try our hardest to form an image of a perfect family. By doing so, a lot of energy is expended at maintaining a false presentation in front of others. We may be unconsciously consumed with attempting to look as if our family doesn't have any problems. Everyone appears to be happy, successful, high achieving and getting along with no conflicts! Bottom line, that is a fantasy! All families have problems. No one family, person or child is perfect, or can possibly maintain that front without eventually cracking from self imposed pressure. There really is no such thing as perfection and no problem-free families.

6 Parenting tips to Lessen the Pressures of Parenting Children:

Remind yourself there is no such thing as perfection! Seeking perfection is coming from a place of fear. Some common fears parent's may experience are fear of failure, not measuring up to one's own expectations, the expectations of others, fear of being found out or a fraud, exposing one's insecurities, not having all the answers, making mistakes, admitting you are wrong.

  • Look at all the things you do right as a parent. Don't forget to also look at the things your child does right.
  • Give yourself a break when you notice you are consumed with negative self-talk. Instead find something positive to say to yourself, your child or your family that can begin to change the negative dialogue in your mind.
  • If you are expecting your child to be perfect, take a look at your needs and goals for your child. Are these the same needs and goals your child has for their own future?
  • Ask yourself where your need to be perfect is coming from? Does it remind you of anything in your past or the way you were parented?
  • Look at your imperfect moments as teaching opportunities to uncover where you can potentially grow as an individual, parent or family.
  • Finally surround yourself with people who can appreciate your humanness, faults and all!

When implementing the Kid Pointz Points System for rewarding good behavior, be sure to keep the perfection gremlins in check. We all make mistakes in life and learning to stay humble and learn from our choices is what matters. Don't model perfection to your kids when it doesn't exist! The challenges you see in your parenting, child or family are gifts to embrace. They can set you back on track to what is important; love, connectedness and growth.