It's ok to make mistakes
Are you feeling pressure to be the perfect parent? The good news is that you already are perfect — as an imperfect parent.
How many of you are perfect parents? None? Well, how many of you have perfect children? Still none? The real truth is that there are no perfect parents — nor perfect children.
Imperfection is allowed and expected
Why do so many parents act as if there is such a being as the "perfect parent" or "perfect child?" To illustrate, try completing the following sentences.
Just say the first thing that comes to mind:
If a parent falls short of these standards, they are left with the belief that he or she is a "bad" parent. These beliefs are responsible for why parents feel so out-of-control and powerless in their parenting roles. Parents need more realistic beliefs about parenting.
Realistic beliefs about parenting
Beliefs are expressions of parents' values about themselves, other people and the world. Unrealistic beliefs create a feeling of demand that pushes and drives parents unnecessarily, where realistic beliefs create a feeling of inner stability — even when circumstances aren't always stable.
One way to create more realistic beliefs is to evaluate the evidence for your unrealistic thoughts about parenting. Ask yourself these questions: What law states that a child will always listen and be respectful? What evidence really suggests that all parents must be available to their children at all times? What edict states that I must be perfect?
Make a parenting plan
"Changing what you say about your parenting will change how you feel about your parenting."
For one day, make a list of all the negative thoughts that come to mind as you go about your parenting duties. At the end of the day, look over the list and write out alternative, positive counter-thoughts. Whenever the negative thoughts come up, immediate state the alternative thought to break its power over you.
If it is too hard to remember them all, pick one or two of the negative thoughts that create the most interference in your parenting and counter those only. Do that for about a week and then move down the list to the others.
Changing what you say about your parenting will change how you feel about your parenting. Try this experiment: Complete the following incomplete sentences and notice the emotional difference between these and the first list.
Only one word was changed in each of these sentences, yet it dramatically changes how you think and feel. If you are going to accept the fact that you are imperfect then you will have to eliminate "perfection" language from your thoughts and words. You will need to accept the fact that you are acting "good enough." This doesn't mean that you shouldn't strive for more out of yourselves or your child. Self improvement is not the same as expecting perfection.
The courage to be imperfect
It takes courage to be a "good enough" parent. This is what the child psychiatrist, Rudolph Driekurs, calls "the courage to be imperfect." While there are plenty of perfect parenting standards to fail short of, there are no rules for how to be an imperfect parent.
Here are 10 un-commandments for developing the "courage to be imperfect."
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