When I first started writing this Positive Parenting Series, my intention was not to come off as an expert or even as a “perfect parent” who’s doing everything right.
I just wanted to share with other perfectly imperfect parents all the strategies that I have been finding over the last few years that are working for me and my family to help maintain sanity while trying to raise an emotionally healthy and happy child.
Over the last few years though, I’ve heard some really twisted advice touted – and it inspired me to write a tongue-in-cheek letter that I hope will get you laughing – and thinking!
When I first started thinking about this week’s topic – Imperfection. I realized it’s such a loaded topic that most people have pretty strong feelings about.
Either you’re like me and you’re struggling with trying to do the best job you can (read my post with an antidote for parental perfectionism), or you’re a mellow parent who has no problem accepting your imperfect parenting (way to go!) and can’t stand all the mommies (or daddies) who are trying to be perfect (or trying to appear to be)!
Or you waffle fiercely between the two!
Regardless of where you’re at with your parenting and your beliefs about how you’re doing – we’re all in it together and we’re all doing the best we can with the skills and knowledge we have right now.
This is something I often say about kids too – but it’s just as true for us parents! Sometimes we give our kids more leeway to make mistakes and mess up than we do ourselves.
Why Is Perfectly Imperfect Parenting an Awesome Quality?
For me, the realization that I am an imperfect parent is what drives me to continually read and learn more about positive parenting strategies.
Are you like me too?
Some of my friends who are parents tell me that being a perfectly imperfect parent means:
1. Learning to forgive themselves for those times when they lose their temper (I’m working on this too!).
2. Allowing the house to get messier than they’d like so they can spend quality time with the kids.
3. Learning to be okay with doing everything just “good enough” at work so there’s time to see the kids before bedtime.
4. I’ve also heard friends admit, that the kids are watching more TV than they’d like, or eating more fast food than home-cooked – but when it benefits THEIR sanity, EVERYONE benefits!
In other words – admitting you’re an imperfect parent – helps keep life with kids in perspective.
So…Can We Let Our Kids Be Imperfect Too?
Okay – so hopefully we’re agreed. We’re all imperfect parents and that’s OKAY – and sometimes even a good thing!
It’s okay then that our kids are imperfect too right? Right?
There is so much judgement and comparison once you become a parent. Suddenly all your friends, family and even sometimes complete strangers have advice for you on how to raise your kids.
There can be a lot of pressure to get it RIGHT – and sometimes this leads us to feel JUDGED by how our KIDS behave.
Have you ever apologized to someone for something your child has done? We’ve all been there and done it.
I think that a lot of the time, when parents find themselves disciplining harshly or yelling at their kids, or even just trying their best to control their kids – it comes down to them wanting or expecting their kids to be well-behaved, quiet, and otherwise perfect little beings.
And sometimes this comes from a desire to please or impress our friends, family, and maybe even just to conform to what we think society expects of us as parents.
However, at its heart, positive parenting means that we are respecting our children as being separate, imperfect beings that are on a journey to adulthood. They are learning constantly – and growing, but just like us – they make mistakes, goof up, and get it wrong sometimes!
Positive parenting is all about allowing that imperfection. Accepting it. Understanding it. And working WITH it.
And so I present my completely tongue-in-cheek twisted letter of advice for raising the “perfect child” – one who is always helpful, grateful at all times, and neverendingly happy.
One who always says and does the right thing at all times. One who is perfectly obedient and always listens to his/her parents!
I hope it makes you chuckle (I certainly enjoyed writing it!) – and maybe makes you think a bit too about what society views as the perfect child – and the perfect parent!
In other words (in case you missed the subtext punchline!) – perfectly imperfect parents have perfectly imperfect kids – and that’s a WONDERFUL THING!
Dare to buck society’s expectations of the perfect child and the perfect parent who has them under control at all times! Dare to be REAL!
I hope you enjoyed my twisted letter! If you would like a printable PDF copy of this “Advice”, and are a subscriber, visit our Subscribers Only page to download your copy.
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Get Inspired! Read More About Perfectly Imperfect Parents and Kids!
10 Reasons Why You (Yes You!) Are the Best Mother in the World from Imperfect Homemaker
Stop Yelling At Your Kids? What is Even More Important from Love Play and Learn
Imperfect Parenting from Parents.com
5 Strategies to Tame Your Inner Critic from Psychology Today
Perfectly Imperfect: How to Be Present When Parenting (video)
Perfect Parents Bum Me Out from Huffington Post
How to Apologize to Your Child from Our Small Hours
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Thanks for joining us this week for our Positive Parenting alphabetic series. I hope to see you back next Saturday when we talk about Justice: The Search for Appropriate Consequences! You can find all our series posts on the Positive Parenting Page.