Do you feel pressure to be the perfect parent? Many parents today do. In a recent large-scale survey study, 80% of parents reported they feel pressure to be The Perfect Parent. After reading blogs, websites, and expert opinions on parenting, young parents are beginning to report feeling overwhelmed by the myriad parenting recommendations they encounter.
In a technological age filled with perfect-looking families smiling out from every Facebook page, they are reporting that parenting is becoming more and more competitive. (Sixty-four percent of parents in the same large-scale study reported that parenting is getting more competitive.) It is no longer good enough to be a warm and responsive parent who also sets clear and reasonable boundaries. Nowadays, you also need to feed your child only organic foods from gourmet-looking serving containers. Diapers, wipes, clothes, and toys need to be safe and well-made, but they also need to be produced by organizations that are making great strides in saving the planet. These are good things to be sure but are not required for good parenting.
At the risk of giving yet more advice, we recommend parents take a deep breath and cut themselves some slack. Remember, there is no such thing as a picture-perfect family where nothing ever goes wrong, and no one ever misbehaves. Everyone has good days and bad days as a parent because we are human, and we have limitations. Our children have the same limitations, times two. They get tired easily, and they get frustrated when things don’t go their way. That doesn’t make parenting easy—neither will putting too much pressure on yourself to be perfect. It is not vital that everyone become a perfect parent, but it is important that we try to be consistently good parents.
What’s the bottom line? Children thrive in environments that are consistent and positive – where they receive hugs, kisses, and kind words but also receive clear instructions and boundaries for good behavior. A good parent’s goal should not be that his/her child should never experience a moment of displeasure. Nor should it be to prevent a child from learning from mistakes. These approaches won’t prepare a child to succeed in the real world. A good parent need only strive to ensure that his/her child feels loved and appreciated and is getting instruction on how to become a good, kind, and productive person.