Does ‘Perfect Parenting’ exist?
Myth or reality?
Perfect parenting is certainly more of a myth than reality as perfection is a subjective term and it has no exact definition when it comes to sociological ideas and thoughts. Parents are prone to fall prey to this ideal. A ‘perfect parent’ is always calm, smiling, energetic, and expert in raising a child. Be it an infant or a preteen child, perfect parenting will ensure a ‘perfect child’ in process. Is it ever possible to never make a mistake and stay perfect at any given moment? Just close your eyes and imagine yourself in different parenting scenarios; a crying infant who refuses to stop for the whole night, a preteen who denies to accept his responsibilities, or a toddler who will surely test your temperament by being fussy and strong-willed. Did you feel perfectly calm and composed in all of the situations? The answer by most of you will be a no as we run out of energy, time, and resources to always feel contented, composed, and focused. We all have our bad days and so does our children.
Pursuit of Perfection
Being a parent, I can understand the struggle that all the parents put in pursuit of perfection- the pursuit of being a perfect parent, to raise a perfect child. It makes sense as humans naturally tend to seek perfection in everything they do or experience. My experience of being parent to hyper-active 3 yo son and 4 yo daughter has answered me the question very well. It is better to give up on the idea of perfect parenting. There will be weak moments when your child will refuse to eat those vegetables or fruits or when he will throw countless tantrums. You will be on the verge of losing your temper or break into tears. Although it is worth to hold your horses in such weak moments and not yell or scream at your child, it is quite natural for humans to get mad at times.
⦁ Some parents tend to hold their parenting to idealistic standards while understanding their parenting techniques.
⦁ Some regret having not given enough time to their kids while some undermine their efforts in polishing their kid’s talent.
⦁ Some say, ‘my son would be a great horse rider today if we had encouraged him to join a horse riding program instead of soccer.’
⦁ Or some think, ‘I wish I could fulfill all of my child’s desires but I had not enough monetary resources back in time.’ While thinking in terms of ‘if only’, we forget that it is going to put unfair pressure on children to become perfect in their parent’s eyes.
Is it fair with our children?
We fall for the ‘perfect parenting’ trap when we deem it fair to demand impossible or too much from our children. Is it fair to push our child so hard in his studies that he gets bored and unenthusiastic? Humans work and achieve better in open environment than a controlled one. While we expect too much of our children, we forget that our children are going to lose their color and smiles in their struggle to become perfect. Maybe we all have idealized our neighbor or friend’s child in terms of manners and behavior. Though unintentional, constant reminders of becoming ‘perfect’ like someone else’s child may cause serious self-esteem issues. This approach works in reverse to the ‘perfect parenting’. There are no perfect children ever seen so it is useless to waste your energy and time on always trying to be a cent percent mom or dad. It is in the best interest of both the parents and children to adopt a flexible and adaptable approach which will allow room for tears and giggles after committing mistakes.
When elders are asked about the pressure of ‘perfect parenting’, they have compassionate responses will give you some serious relief. They are advocates of flexible style of raising children. One of my granduncles said; “let them make mistakes, let their clothes get stained and shoes muddy when they play. If they are bothered about keeping their clothes and shoes clean, they will never excel in their game. Let them have bad days and weak moments. Let the siblings argue and fight over the matters that bother them. Guarding them from conflicts and arguments will work counterproductive. When they will face conflict in future, they will have the prerequisite knowledge of dealing conflict and arguments.”
Problems and mistakes are inevitable part of every parent and child’s life so lose your ideals regarding parenting. It is how you deal a situation, not how perfectly you acted as a parent. Just make sure you do good job in handling a difficult parenting situation. This should do to raise a ‘good enough’ child.