The notion of the perfect parent is nothing more than a wild goose chase! In fact, it is something that does much more harm than good, because even the parents that are getting things right most of the time can use it to beat themselves over the head with! Instead, we need to accept that parenting, just like any other experience in life will be a mixed bag where you get some things wrong, even if you are trying your hardest to do the best you can. In fact, what is far more important here is that we aim to be good instead of perfect, something that is attainable with the advice below.
Perfect parents, just like perfect kids do not exist.
Put the kids first, most of the time.
One way that you can be a good rather than perfect parent is to put your kids first most of the time. That means some of the time you will be able to do things that are just for you, something that I will discuss in the section below.
What does putting the kids first look like? Well, it’s about doing what is best for them even if its hard, or inconvenient. It means going to parents evenings though it’s hard to get the time off work, or cooking from scratch most nights, even though it’s a lot less convenient than ordering in a pizza.
In fact, putting the kids first may be even more complicated for some families, especially ones that are going through a divorce, or co-parenting after one. After all, it can be incredibly tough to support your ex in their parenting when there is animosity between you.
Happily, there are some tactics that you can use to help make things a little more comfortable in this area. These include pre agreeing on your parenting style and boundaries, as well as staying out of the legal debates and issues that come with divorce as much as possible.
Something that you can do if you find a firm of family law solicitors that specialise in this area. Then, you can focus on what is best for the kids and not involved your personal problems in the mix as well.
Put yourself first, some of the time.
It is also crucial that as a good parent you also put yourself first some of the time. What this means is that if you want to do something that will make a significant difference in your quality of life, you should be able to choose this without feeling loads of parent guilt.
For example, if regular exercise at the gym will keep you happy and sane, leaving the kids with your other half, or a family member for a few hours, three nights a week is entirely reasonable.
Similarly, if you want to return to work because you miss your career, and find being a full-time caregiver less than satisfying, you don’t have to be overwhelmed with parental guilt. After all, plenty of people do this and send their kids in excellent nurseries that not only entertain them but educate them as well.
In essence, what I’m saying hey is that you need to remember that perfect parent guilt is a useless concept. Especially when compared to your own happiness, because a happy parent is always going to be one that is better than a miserable one.
Set boundaries and keep them.
The perfect parent myth would have us believe that we can manage the behaviour of your children, so they are flawless at all times. This is truly a fallacy and a dangerous one at that. In fact, if you have a child that is so terrified to step out of line, even once then you are probably far more overbearing than you need to be. After all, good parents are able to reach a balance between keeping their child safe and also not crushing their individuality and spirit.
To that end, don’t fret too much about trying to make your child’s behaviour perfect, instead be sure to set reasonable boundaries that will keep them safe, and consistently reinforce them.
Now, even this can be something that a lot of parents have trouble with because it can be pretty tough to keep your temper when your toddler is having a tantrum and take them through the consequence steps in a reasonable manner.
That is why it’s essential that you are very clear on what these will be before you put them into practice. It can even help to set up a formal system with 3-5 stages that can be escalated to a timeout situation.
This also being a useful parent tool because it allows the child space to experience their emotions and regain a sense of balance, as well as separates them from their poor behaviours. Something that means they learn to under that the consequences aren’t personal. This being hugely important for their sense of being loved and self-esteem later on in life.
Learn that it’s OK to make mistakes.
Mistakes are the antithesis of being perfect, and as parents, we can often be terrified of making them. This is because we love our children and see them as the most precious things in the world, and so don’t want them to experience any discomfort even if it’s it relatively minor.
However, while we must keep them safe and protect them from any major issues, kids do need to experience life the way that it really is. That means being tired, or bored, or not always getting there way.
It is also crucial to remember that as human beings, and so as parents, we will make mistakes. That means you won’t always have the perfect sleep routine straight off, sometimes you will be exhausted and end up shouting instead of using a behaviour management system. Occasionally you will let them have too much sugar and then suffer the consequences too!
Instead, what we should take away from this is that it is OK to make mistakes, because we don’t have to be a perfect parent. In fact, as long as we are keeping them safe, and relativity happy we are doing a good job!
Talk to your kids, not at them.
One of the best thing things you can do to improve your parenting is to slow things down and take the time to actually listen and interact with your kids rather than talk at them. Of course, this can be tough when they are treading on your last nerve, and when you feel like you have no patience left but it is possible.
In fact, by creating some time in each day where you just sit down and have a conversation with your child you can set up a fantastic president for later on in life. After all, they will get used to talking to you and sharing aspects of their life. Something that can be incredibly helpful when it comes to monitoring their mood, how they are doing in and out of school, and checking to see if there are any problems they need help with.
Boost your child’s self-esteem.
Those trying to be perfect parents often overlook the highly important area of being a cheerleader for your child and boosting their self-esteem wherever appropriate. In fact, perfectionists often come from a place of fear and criticism. While those that have a more relaxed attitude to parenthood are able to step back long enough from the perceived faults in their children and find things that are worthy of celebration and praise.
>How to do this is, of course, up to you and you need to find a way that works for your child. However, many parents boost their self-esteem by displaying their kids’ latest artwork on the fridge, verbally praising them, and even setting up formal rewards systems. This being where the children get points for things that are well done that they can save up to put towards a prize.
Be careful of conditional love.
One of the most insidious thing about trying to be a perfect parent is that it pushes this pressure to be perfect onto your child. This is something that can be an enormous weight on them, and actually be very harmful to their development and identity.
In fact, because everything is so focused around achieving perfection, it can seem as if the love you give them is conditional on them achieving this. In turn, this is something that can create a precarious sense of belonging and self, and also have a really negatively impact their confidence and self-esteem, and they develop in life.
In fact, although all the other point discussed are important, if you there is one takeaway from this post it is that perfectionism sucks, both for them and for you. To that end, it may just be time to cut both of you some slack. Something that may make you as parent happier, and ensure your kids grow up in a healthy environment and turn into people with a positive sense of self and that can deal with the world as it actually is.
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