To all the moms out there: Let’s stop blaming ourselves when we see perfectionism show up in our kids.
We think it’s all OUR fault when our kids are rigid, afraid to take risks, upset when they “color outside of the lines”, right?
We look back and connect the dots, seeing how every parenting decision, how every mistake, how what we’ve modeled has “made them this way”.
I hear this all the time from the *amazing* women I work with. They are motivated to let go of patterns of perfectionism so they can model a different approach to their kids. And that is such a worthwhile reason to want to change. It’s certainly one of my biggest drivers in doing this work.
But underneath that aspiration is a hidden set of perfectionist beliefs:
→ That if we’re just a *little* more perfect in how we parent, we can control how our kids turn out
→ That we can draw a straight line between our inadequacies and our kids’ rigidity, fear, frustration
→ That our kids’ future is black-and-white, perfectionist or not-perfectionist
Whether we like it or not (we don’t), the truth is perfectionism is in the air we breathe. Our kids consume it at school, in their friendships, in their activities, in what they see in the media. Our approach with them certainly plays a large role in how they develop, but it’s not the only input.
Let’s stop listening to that voice in our heads that says, “Because of YOUR perfectionist parenting, your kids are doomed to a life of unhappy perfectionism.” Nothing productive happens when we listen to that voice.
Instead, let’s focus on:
→ Choosing to be ourselves around our kids, instead of listening to the endless “shoulds” in the air WE breathe
→ Trusting in our kids. Knowing that we can’t control who they become, but that they will become a mix of beautiful and challenging things, and that even their challenges will yield beauty.
→ Trusting our future selves as parents. Believing that we’ll have what we need in the future to support our kids when they need it.
That’s not to say that investing in our own growth won’t pay real dividends. Or that there aren’t ways we can help our kids when perfectionism shows up. I can help you in both of those areas. But let's all take a first step and decide we’ll stop beating ourselves up in the process.
Can you make that commitment in 2023?