Why is it that, we are so quick to say to others, that it’s okay, you don’t have to be a perfect parent, or you don’t have to have the perfect body etc. yet we expect our children to be perfect in all that they do (whether we are doing this intentionally or not)?
This topic came up because a friend and I were talking about our kids and the things that they have to face each day etc. and that as they enter into the next phase of schooling with intermediate and high school, the pressure and stress that comes with it. Well it got me thinking about my family, especially my older daughter. She is a perfectionist in everything that she does, and I don’t think this is a good thing.
She hates trying new things and would put it off out of fear of not getting it right the first time. She get’s frustrated and gives up easily too. In turn this frustrates me, because I know she can do it, if she just gives it a go (not a great combo – frustrated child + frustrated parent = everyone is having a meltdown). I always say to her, don’t compare yourself to others, because everyone is different, and each person has different strengths and weaknesses. Whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability and if that is in the middle or last it doesn’t matter, because it’s the best you can do and you gave it your all. I want her to just be a kid and enjoy school and her friends while she can, with no added pressure or stress, because we know that shit piles up when you’re an adult.
This got me looking at ourselves and how we parent, and I started questioning how we do things. Trust me we don’t always get things right, but that’s okay because we are still learning. There is never a finish line with parenting, just a few hurdles that come up every now and again. I thought is there anything we are doing unintentionally that is giving my daughter the message that you have to be perfect. The biggest culprit I think is ME! I don’t say to her, you have to be perfect, or do things perfectly, however she must be picking things up from observing me.
I myself am a perfectionist, I didn’t really have this issue when I was in school, but when I think back I was always really tidy, I loved cleaning my room and would usually rearrange everything all the time. This got worse as I got older and had children I believe. In regards to my house, I need to have it super tidy all the time (not ideal with children) and when it is messy (or any mess in general) my anxiety starts up really bad, so I just clean all the time. I know it is really unrealistic, but I do it anyway. Messy play gives me heart palpitations, that’s why I loved daycares. Growing up my mum let us do all sorts of crazy stuff, even messy things, and we never were told not to do anything because she didn’t like it. So I am not sure how this came about in me.
I know I need to relax and ease up a bit, however it’s not as easy as it sounds, but foremost I need to help my daughter around not being a perfectionist, and I want to break the cycle and better ourselves as parent’s. So please don’t judge me!
I am sharing this because I hope that there are people out there that can help me and others with tips or strategies that have worked for you. If you are in the same boat as me, what are some of the things that you are doing to minimize the effect of perfectionism, in both yourself and your children. Desperate parent right here, so I will take all the help I can get!
I came across an article from She Knows about Raising excellent, not perfect, children and it was very interesting.
Here is the link: Raising excellent, not perfect, Children
Another good article is from the Anxiety BC.
Here is the link: Overcoming Perfectionism