Parenting has been around for thousands and thousands of years. Yet I, without knowing you, the reader, or most of the world’s population, I am going to go out on a limb here and state that nowhere on this planet can anyone call themselves “the perfect parent.” The perfect parent doesn’t exist. There’s no such thing. Don’t get me wrong: people have come close. But, after thousands of years we still have not perfected parenting. Why?
Times change. Thousands of years ago, parents were focused solely on survival–theirs and their kids. Not financial survival mind you–physical survival. Can I eat today? Will I be eaten today? You know–that kind of survival!
Since the seventies, with the divorce rate climbing, parents parent differently than say, parents in the forties and fifties. Divorce, single-by-choice parents, and women working out of the home (or in the home!) are some of the big factors influencing parenting today. And LGBT parents? They weren’t mentioned in parenting books a generation ago.
Look at the parenting books published over the last fifty years and you’ll see how much parenting has changed.
Emotional intelligence, attachment, parenting styles–these are the buzzwords of today. Trying to incorporate these into your parenting with kids who have all kinds of different temperaments can be daunting. Say for example you have one child who has ADHD and one who is introspective and is a gifted student. Different kids need different kinds of parenting. You might not get it “right” the first time your child has a tantrum or breaks the rules, might not happen the second time around either.
You come home from work, for example, having had a huge disagreement with your boss, and your kids want your attention immediately. You lose your temper. Some parents wouldn’t care if they did. That’s how their parents did it they reason and they stay unconscious to their behaviors. Some parents would berate themselves endlessly in fear they scarred their child for life. You’ve got your kids’ personalities to attune to and you’ve got your own personality–with your lens of viewing the world. Then, you’ve got your health which affects your relationships–because if you don’t feel 100%, this will affect how you interact with loved ones. Or, you’re exhausted or hungry…or your kid is exhausted or hungry…
So many different things can go awry with parenting. There are so many different variables to consider! How do you make sense of it all? How do you back off from trying to be the “perfect” parent to “good enough?”
What do all parents want for their children? To be happy and healthy.
There’s no such thing as a perfect parent. You might as well give up the gig now. There’s no such thing as perfection. You learn and grow from your experiences. It’s okay to show your child you aren’t perfect (as long as you aren’t abusive–and that goes for emotionally and psychologically as well). So you have to apologize? What a great way to provide an example for making a mistake and owning it. What a great opportunity to model emotional intelligence. So your kid acts out? Welcome to parenting. There is so much advice out there on how to handle all kinds of parenting issues–find a resource that works for you. Be the kind of person you want your children to grow up to be.