Imperfect Parenting Is Ok
Perfectionism is something I struggle on a regular basis now that I’m a parent.
Perfectionism has its benefits, but in the area of parenting, it tends to haunt me rather than help me.
When I lose my anger when I know a loving reaction is the best, perfectionism tells me I’m a failure. It informs me that my children will remember my setbacks more than my accomplishments. Perfectionism dictates that there is only one way to parent properly, that I should spend every waking hour on the floor with my kids playing games, and that the meals I prepare should always be colourful and healthy.
I’ve known they are all falsehoods for years, yet I still believe them more often than I’d like to admit.
But here’s the thing: as much as I despise hearing my four-year-old say things like “remember when you were frustrated, Mom, when I wasn’t listening?” Because I remember it and know I didn’t manage it properly, I understand the value of having these talks with my children.
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The Pressure To Be Perfect Is Crushing
We frequently strive harder to keep our dreams alive because of our worry and anxiety. We put more pressure on ourselves and our children to meet our high standards. We do everything we can to stay away from our anticipated future fears. We feel obligated to be ideal parents with a kid who exhibits that perfection to the world, especially with a firstborn child.
However, we eventually understand that our aspirations are more imagination than reality, and we recognize that perfection is not a possibility. Regardless of our intentions for our children, perfection seemed to evade us.
You don’t have to be the picture-perfect parent to have great kids, thankfully. When you learn to accept imperfection, you’ll see that making mistakes and struggling with your children could be a terrific way to teach them.
Embrace The Imperfect
As your children arrive home from school, the door slams shut.
Backpacks are tossed around, papers are shoved in your face, and there are constant requests for munchies.
It’s excessive. You’re a jerk. “Enough! I recently cleaned the living room, look at those backpacks…” The anger goes on.
Three pairs of eyes are suddenly riveted on you.
“Oh no!” you exclaim as your thoughts turn negative. I’d blown it again! Why can’t I just keep my cool?!”
There’s still hope!
Your children don’t require a super-parent; all they require is you. They don’t need the ideal version of you; they need the one with flaws and flaws.
Learning to Forgive
I frequently joke that, if nothing else, I’m teaching my kids how to ask for forgiveness and model repentance since I have to do it all the time. I joke, but it’s really important to me as a flawed person and a flawed parent, and I want to raise children who are courageous and modest enough to seek forgiveness from others.
Developing a Culture of Open Communication
We chat about how we’ve messed up in the past. My preschooler informs me with remarkable clarity why he believes I got upset after we’ve been separated from the incident and the weight of our emotions, and I explain to him how I might have behaved better. I seldom have to arrange these talks since, as someone who is very aware of my feelings, he wants and needs to communicate when we don’t agree.
Finding Ways to Remain Calm
If I’m being honest, I’m still working on it! “I need you to help me calm down!” childrens may occasionally exclaim. This generally indicates he wants a hug and I need to calm down, so we attempt a variety of soothing tactics together. We snuggle, breathe, pray, act goofy, and occasionally give each other some much-needed space.
Permitting Ourselves to be Flawed
I don’t want my children to be as critical of themselves as I am. And I’m aware that this necessitates my modelling grace for them. My son understands that we must be nice even when we are upset or angry, and he also understands that I am still learning to do so. It’s difficult to admit to him that I don’t have it all together (something he obviously knows without being told! ), but it occurred to me one day that, while I feel like a failure when I don’t meet my own expectations, I never think of my children as setbacks, and I’m sure they don’t think I am either.
Play Barbies or build a LEGO machine by being silly, telling jokes, and sitting on the floor. Sure, it may seem awkward at first, but your children will appreciate your efforts.
Spending time with your kid is the best approach to help them thrive. By interacting with them, you can spark their imagination, increase their self-confidence, and develop the bond that you both require.
Being “playful” isn’t something that comes easy to everyone. We either grow too preoccupied with our to-do lists to sit and play for lengthy periods of time, or we feel silly pretending and playing imagination games.
Accept responsibility for your part in a disagreement or misunderstanding. Model the sort of apology you’d like to hear from your child: “I’m sorry, I overreacted.”
After you’ve cooled down, apologize to your kid and talk to them about your sentiments in an age-appropriate manner, according to Dr. Hudson. You don’t have to explain why you responded the way you did, but you may say something along the lines of, “I’m sorry I yelled.” I became irritated, but it wasn’t your fault that I lost my cool. Here’s how I could have handled the situation more effectively.” Then you may speak about how you could have calmed down differently, such as going for a walk, taking a big breath, or walking away from the conversation.
Perfectly Imperfect Parenting
“Oops,” you remark after taking a big breath. Sorry for yelling so loudly! I was starting to feel a bit frazzled. Let’s get something to eat first, and then I’ll be able to offer you my entire attention. I’m looking forward to hearing about your day.”
Imperfect parents are well aware that there is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” parenting method. It doesn’t imply it will work for you just because it worked for someone else.
Wow. That’s a lot of instruction. Congratulations, Imperfect Parent!
What You Should Do Next:
1. Subscribe To My Parenting NewsletterSign Up For My Parenting Newsletter for tips on creating a happier home and becoming a more positive parent. As a bonus when you subscribe you’ll get a copy of my FREE Growth Mindset Printout For Kids which is the KEY to raising resilient kids with a growth mindset.
2. Register For A Pretty Awesome FREE 60-Minute Class:Register for a free class called GET KIDS TO LISTEN THE RIGHT WAY; an exclusive FREE class from nationally recognized parenting coach, Amy McCready.
3. Sign Up For A 7 Step Positive Parenting CourseEnroll now in the most in-depth parenting class. After discovering these common sense, easy-to-implement, research-based tools you can learn how to:
- Easily get kids to listen – the FIRST time. No yelling or reminding…not even once!
- Put an end to daily power struggles. Bedtime became a breeze, and all the dawdling, chore wars, sibling rivalry, and mealtime meltdowns disappeared.
- Reduce backtalk by HALF! It’s simple once you know the secrets of these two ‘buckets.’
- Say goodbye to punishments that DON’T work. There’s a 5-step formula that works WAYYY better than time-outs.
- Feel amazing, confident, and empowered as a parent, every day. I NEVER go to bed feeling guilty anymore! (Okay, well maybe sometimes…’ mom guilt’ is still a thing.)