The Quest for Perfection Hurts Parents, Too

Sasha Brown-Worsham
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We hear a lot about the ways that parents who want "perfection" hurt their kids. They make them feel inadequate, make them hyper-competitive, prone to envy of their friend's accomplishments and generally difficult to please. But rarely do we hear about what that same perfectionist parenting does to parents.

Obviously we all want our children to succeed and do well, but how do we measure success? A recent article on CNN talked about the repercussions of perfectionist parenting and how much it limits children. When we are wedded to the idea that our children must excel at every sport, earn straight A's, and join every club, we pressure them into the "perfection infection," which sets children up for a whole life of feeling less than adequate. It can be stifling and really hurt them. 

But what about us? What does the "perfection infection" do to us?

Living in a city where it is very normal to earn several degrees and be at the top of your career before you even thinking about procreating, I understand this rush toward creating opportunity for our children from a young age, but there is also something to be said for getting to know the little people you made and NOT pushing them so hard to succeed.

No one would suggest letting children flounder, but there is something to be said for just letting them know that no matter what they like or who they want to be, you will love them. Isn't that the whole point of parenthood? Unconditional love means loving unconditionally, imperfections at all.

In fact, when you think about it, aren't imperfections what make us the people we are? I adore my husband and my best friends, but all of them have flaws. And yes, so do I. It is these flaws, these "quirks" that make us so unique. We should be encouraging our children to embrace their imperfections because they are what make them the people they truly are.

The best relationships are the ones in which you fully accept the person, flaws and all. They are rare. But that is true love. And we parents should be striving for that in our relationship with our children. It is far superior to "perfection" any day.

Do you strive for "perfection" with your kids?

 

 

Image via English106/Flickr

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