The Perfect Parent Myth

Posted by Ruby Gray on January 28, 2015

Watching from the outside, you see the perfect family. Mom and Dad always impeccably dressed and their children standing politely and quietly by their side. The perfect model of a happy, well-adjusted family.

Sitting down to enjoy some old reruns on Nickelodeon you watch as June and Ward Cleaver have the perfect answer for Wally and Beaver when they face the various trials of childhood, never raising their tone of voice as they dole out the perfect advice and discipline. 

You worked out the perfect formula to become the ultimate, flawless parent raising a happy, thriving, picture-perfect child. People will gush when they see how easy and effortless it is for you to be the perfect parent.

Okay, back to the real world. It's all a myth. You have no idea the time and struggle it took for those 'perfect' parents to get it together. You didn't hear the threats of consequences for bad behavior yelled at the kids. "Leave It To Beaver" is an unrealistic television show from the 50's and 60's. Take that game plan of yours and tuck it away for an outline to that novel you want to write when the kids are grown.

We shouldn't even compare ourselves to those examples. Perfect parents don't exist. It's exhausting and self-defeating to try to be a perfect parent and raise a perfect child. Life happens and mistakes are ok. Making mistakes is actually healthy. Not being perfect is a learning experience for you and your child. You learn to handle things differently next time and your child learns it's alright to goof up sometimes. You both learn things are fine and no major catastrophe occurred.

You probably know more than you think you do. Parents have a good knowledge and intuition of their own kids. Trust your instincts and develop your own style of parenting. One that you are comfortable with. Think about your beliefs, temperament, parenting philosophy and how  it fits with your children. Expectations should be flexible to allow for the ever changing circumstances of family life.

Parents should not live vicariously through their children. You need to set aside time to be by yourself and respect your adulthood. Don't put too much pressure on yourself.

The vast majority of kids turn out just fine. Keep your sense of humor, trust your instincts, and seek out help or advice when needed. Always remember a 'perfect' parent is a myth!