Forbes recently published an article explaining the dangers of striving for a perfect parenting approach. Looking to the advice of Dr. Craig Pierce, president and CEO of Southwest Family Guidance Centre and Institute, it becomes clear that there is a better way.
In the grand scheme of things, no one is perfect, and that includes our children. In fact, expecting perfection of them can be significantly counter-productive. The most obvious issue is to instil in them a ‘not-good-enough’ complex. Additionally, Dr. Pierce explained, “When we expect perfection from our children, we rob them of important experiences and the chance to learn and grow along the way.” Instead, he suggests parents let go of their desire to teach perfection, and pay closer attention to building confidence within our little ones.
Confidence is the key to success. We need confidence to reach for our goals, and to accomplish them. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what we most want for our kids?
Dr. Pierce, who authored the book, Parenting Without Distraction: The Attention Approach, argues that if we focus on giving our children the attention they need to develop a true sense of self-esteem, our roles as parents will be far more effective. We will be better able to nurture them into emotionally healthy adults this way. By doing so, we send them the message that they matter, and that they are capable.
Here are 3 tips that will help parents let go of the idea of being perfect, and give their children what they need – confidence and love.
1. Establish a Positive Self-Image For Them
Especially in young children, how they perceive others as perceiving them shapes the way they see themselves. That’s why it is so important to recognize their efforts and accomplishments, and provide praise. Encourage them to take risks and try new things, and always cheer them on when they do so. This will help them recognize their own strengths and give them the inspiration they need to go after things in life that they want.
2. Make Time to Play
Spending time with the kids is a given when it comes to good parenting. But it’s also important to realize that it’s just as important to make time to play with them. In other words, doing the things that they want to do will communicate to them that they are worth your time. Moreover, playtime is also a time for you to learn about your child and how they respond to creativity, competition, and other elements of play. Best of all, establishing a relationship like this early on will give a better chance at closeness, even as they grow.
3. Demonstrate Trust
As kids grow they tend to feel the need to prove themselves by completing every day tasks that they see are part of your lives. While it can be difficult to hand over the reins, it’s important to do so. If a child wants to sweep for you, allowing them to let’s them know that your relationship is built on trust. Even better, it shows them that they are capable and useful. Accomplishing the task all on their own will fill them with pride and confidence that they can carry with them outside of the home as well. In other words, try not to micromanage. Assigning chores is another great way to remind them that they have a meaningful role in the family.
Remember, there is no such thing as perfection. According to Dr. Pierce, you don’t have to be perfect in order to raise healthy, well-adjusted children. You just have to be attentive, and sensitive to their needs.