Doing Your Best: No Such Thing as Perfect Parents!

by | Mar 24, 2024 | Parenting | 0 comments

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

Overcoming parental perfectionism is extremely important if you want to become a good parent. No one can become a perfect parent. Sometimes, doing your best is all that it takes.

The desire to be the best at something is all too human. It is a universal human desire to want to be good at something. And nowhere is this more apparent than when we become parents. After all, even if one isn’t a Nobel laureate or an Olympic gold medalist, raising someone to be must count for something, right?

This need to become a perfect parent is even more so pronounced during this digital age. Bombarded by social media portrayals of pristine homes and well-behaved children, lots of parents easily fall into the trap of chasing an idealized version of themselves. We want to become “perfect parents.” 

But what does that even mean?

This relentless pursuit, however, has far-reaching consequences, impacting not only the parent’s wellbeing but also the emotional development of the child and more. In our haste to count the chickens, we forget they haven’t even hatched yet. 

There Is No Such Thing as Perfect Parents!

Firstly, the very idea of “perfect parenting” is ludicrous. 

Children are inherently messy creatures, and parenting is a dirty, unpredictable journey. Oftentimes, doing your best is all that you can really do. There will be spilled drinks, scraped knees, and tantrums in public. Yet these experiences are a natural part of growing up. 

Looking for a perfect outcome sets unrealistic expectations and disregards the valuable lessons learned through simply doing your best and making mistakes. Mistakes are crucial to the learning process for both parent and child. So, it’s okay to make them—as long as we try our best not to repeat them.

When parents obsess with flawless behavior from themselves and their children, they inadvertently discourage opportunities for genuine growth.

Secondly, the pursuit of perfection breeds immense stress and anxiety in parents. The constant pressure to maintain a picture-perfect image leads to dark paths, especially when it concerns parenting. This emotional strain can manifest in various ways, from strained relationships with partners and children to burnout and depression. 

A stressed and depleted parent cannot fully connect or provide the consistent, loving guidance children need to thrive, just as a spent bonfire can’t give out warmth.

Thirdly, children of “perfect parents” often internalize the pressure to achieve unrealistic standards. They feel like they constantly need to please their parents, leading to anxiety and a crippling fear of failure. This perfectionist mindset can stifle creativity, risk-taking behavior, and the exploration necessary for healthy development. Doing your best becomes a non-option because what if it’s not enough? It can also erode the parent-child bond, replacing genuine connection with fear of disapproval.

Doing Your Best as a Parent

So, how can parents break free from the shackles of perfectionism and embrace the joys of “good enough” parenting? 

Acknowledge that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Every child is unique, and parenting styles should adjust to individual needs and personalities. Focus on building a strong, loving connection with children. Unconditional love and acceptance create a safe space where children feel comfortable expressing themselves, making mistakes, and learning from them. And that’s a good thing. Prioritize self-care. A happy, healthy parent is better equipped to handle the challenges and navigate the joys of raising children.

Finally, embrace a mindset for growth. There’s no one skill that all parents need to know so they can be the best parents out there. It is a continuous learning process, although there will be setbacks along the way. Do not think of mistakes as failures. Look at them as chances to become a better parent/person than you were before. This way, you won’t be quickly overwhelmed as a parent. 

The parenting journey is beautiful and messy, filled with triumphs and challenges, and by overcoming parental perfectionism, parents can embrace the power of “good enough” parenting. 


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