The Myth of Perfect Parenting

First-time Moms and Dads often think they need to be perfect parents or they may ruin their children. They hear the scary myths and have been told unrealistic expectations that can cause anxiety and sleepless nights while taking care of a baby. But here’s a secret that experienced parents know: You will make mistakes and you won’t be perfect. But if you learn from your missteps and give your child tons of love, security and room to grow, your parenting will be perfect enough. Don’t worry about these myths of perfect parenting.

Only perfect parenting is good enough. No one is a perfect parent. Do your best to meet the standards you’ve set for yourself. That will be enough. “Good enough” is enough most of the time as long as you keep trying. You are human, and that means you will likely fall short sometimes.

My mistakes will scar my kids for life. It’s neglect and abuse that inflict long-term harm, not the ordinary mistakes people make. Children survive ordinary mistakes. Making mistakes shows our children that we are human.

My kids won’t turn out okay if I’m not a perfect parent. Think back to your own childhood. Chances are your parents made plenty of mistakes and you turned out okay. Mindful parenting is more important than perfect parenting. Your willingness to admit mistakes and talk with your children about what to do next time is more important than the pursuit of perfection. If you do this, you will show your kids that we can learn from our mistakes.

I can’t teach them everything they need to know. You can’t be expected to know everything, but you can lean on others to teach your children what you can’t. Remember the teachers and role models you had in your life? Your role as a parent can be to help them spend time with relatives, coaches, youth leaders, and people they can learn good things from.

I have to give them everything they want. Let’s start with the basics: You should do the very best you can to provide children with shelter, food, health care, and clothing. That makes you a good provider as a parent. What kids need more than $150 sneakers are love, attention and guidance in solving life’s problems. Do you play with them, read to them and listen to them? That’s good parenting.

Everybody but me knows how to be a perfect parent. Here’s the secret to parenting. Love your kids. Give them clear boundaries for responsible behavior. Show them how to behave responsibly by modeling responsible behavior. You don’t know what the other parents are really like, just what they tell you.

I should be a friend to my kids.  Children don’t need you to be a friend. They need you to be a parent. They need the security of knowing they can depend on you as their parent until they are well into their teens. They need room to be kids. You shouldn’t rely on them as an equal or confidant.

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