Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Nobody’s perfect—even parents—and they don’t have to be, because what a child is looking for may be a present, not an ideal parent. 

Parenting is a journey filled with love, joy, and challenges. But because the world glorifies perfection, many parents strive to be flawless at every turn, especially in their children’s lives.

But the truth is that being a present, not perfect, parent should set your parenting apart from what society wants. This is for the well-being of your children, which positively contributes to the harmony of your family.

Walking On a Tightrope of Perfectionism

Some people have innate perfectionism tendencies, even before becoming parents. Some might be aware of it for a long time and didn’t think of dealing with it until it reared its ugly head. However, some people refuse to acknowledge that overcoming parental perfectionism is harmless for their children’s good. Those small build-ups of trying to be perfect for society will eventually build up during adulthood, especially parenthood.

Parental perfectionism creates a high-pressure environment for both parents and children. The constant pursuit of perfection can stress you out. Moreover, it sets unrealistic expectations that can harm a child’s self-esteem and emotional development. Breaking free from perfectionism’s grip may not be easy. Still, it’s the most necessary step in being a present, responsible parent.

The over-concern for doing everything right sees things as black and white, all or nothing. And when things fall into a grey area, it’s automatically a standard of failure for a perfectionist parent. Don’t forget the fact that children raised by perfectionist parents are at higher risk of mental health problems like anxiety and eating disorders. And worse, because they’re so good at hiding things, they won’t show anyone their “weaknesses,” even though they suffer inside.

The Dangers Of Being A Perfect Parent All The Time

Fear of failure mainly triggers parents to try too hard to do everything right the first time. Maybe it’s the incapacity to accept that things don’t always go as planned, which requires us to be flexible and adaptable.

Being an unbearable perfectionist parent has its repercussions. It makes children believe they’re a total failure if they don’t achieve their parents’ highest standards. This shouldn’t be the case since putting too much pressure on kids to be perfect sends the wrong message to them. Because of the overwhelming urge to please their parents, these kids might cheat to get good grades since they think you value their achievements more than honesty.

While having high standards is essential for them to strive better, let’s not forget the importance of being human. Let kids be kids and give them the grace to make simple mistakes that don’t have major consequences. Allowing them to have a normal childhood actually contributes to their development. It spares them the psychological and emotional fragility in the future.

Why Does Being a Present, Not Perfect Parent Matter More?

The world itself is not perfect. Even though you raised your child in an ideal home, things will change when they grow older. Your child will eventually meet imperfect people, interact with them, and learn about their good and bad traits. We don’t have any control over their future. But what we can do for our kids is to guide them through the path they choose. As much as we love our children and want them to be the best in what they do, being a present, not perfect parent weighs more on them than anything.

Being a huge part of your child’s life is more fulfilling for your relationship as a family. Rather than being hyper-fixated on your child being flawless, give them the quality time they need. They won’t be kids forever, and it’s not good for them to resent you. Getting into the most prestigious schools and social circles matters, but taking the time to be with them in their most important moments is better. It could be attending their school plays and graduations, helping with their homework, or playing in the yard. This shouldn’t be the minimum because parents are integral to a child’s development and influence their lives.

More Presence, Not Perfection

There are different opinions around parenting, including various approaches to motivating their kids. However, parental perfectionism becomes harmful when the repercussions show up when the children become adults. Parents need to focus on encouraging their kids to be good people so they can spread that kindness to others.

Step back if you feel your parental perfectionism is taking over your child’s life. Assess why their talents, grades, career path, and success matter to you. If you’re too absorbed in polishing your child to be perfect, neglecting their mental and emotional needs, they might cut you out of their lives in the future.

In raising children, being present has more bearing than being perfect in the eyes of society. Emotional availability means allowing your child to be seen and heard, not ignored. Furthermore, dialing back a bit won’t tell your kids will turn out bad, nor do you have to sweat about it. Be more of a present, not a perfect parent.

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