Parenting tips, do not try to be a perfect parent!

Let’s face it; life is difficult, to be a human being is difficult, and to be a parent is even more difficult! Because in parenting you don’t only have yourself to consider, there is also another part; your child or children! I have come to this conclusion; You can never be a perfect parent. The only thing you can do is to try to ensure that you cause your children as little damage as possible!

When I became a parent I said to myself: my child is going to get all the things I never got when I was a child! And she is going to be all the things I never where as a child; brave, confident, have good self-esteem and of course be a happy child. And I will be the understanding, patient, present and perfect parent, and I will certainly not do the same mistakes as my parents did when I grew up! And most parents probably think the same! 


But I already know that I have failed in so many areas as a parent and there are probably also many things I did wrong that I am not aware of! The only one who knows or will know is my daughter and sadly enough, she is going to have to struggle with those issues half her life or more. And when she has come a bit on her way to know who and how she is and why, maybe I will not be around anymore because those things takes time. So I might not even be able to listen to her complains, her questions or to help her understand things that she is wondering about.

Because no matter how good your intentions as a parent are, you can never be perfect! We all have our flaws and shortcomings and it will affect our children. How much depends on the children. If you have several children your parenting will affect your children in different ways. Some people are more sensitive than others, and siblings can be totally different. So there is no way to ensure that you don’t harm your children, and in some cases harm them for life!

Some examples from my own life!

I will give you some examples from my own life. I grew up in a family with a quite, kind but absent father, since he was the wage earner, and a string, dominant mother who where in charge of the household and for the upbringing of us three children. My father had his own firm, an electronic store, in the basement. Even though he was in the house he was still absent because he was busy with customers during the day and repaired TV:s and other electronic devices during the evenings and weekends. Looking back, I can see that they did struggle to get it all together; the firm, the house that needed maintenance, the garden that needed to be in perfect fit in order to impress the neighbours, up bringing of three children and a constant bad economy. There wasn’t so much laughter in the house, and as children we knew that we where an extra burden on top of their busy life. My father was always tired (no wonder) and my mother was constantly nagging on my father because of his absence (no wonder about that either). If me or my siblings made something wrong our mother yelled at us, beat us with her hands or some available items, or just sighed and sometimes even burst into tears. But most of the time she was angry at something. And all our short-comings and faults where reported to her friends on the phone, which was her way to cope I suppose, by ventilate her problems.

Not an environment where you get self-confident and learn great social skills! I can also see now that this has influenced us three children in totally different ways. But we all have our issues and suffer from our upbringing. As a middle child with one older sister and one younger brother I think I am the one with fewer problems than my siblings.

My older sister was the one that was supposed to be the best and the wisest of us three, since she was oldest, and got the blame for many things that wasn’t her fault. She was also much more sensitive than me and my brother. Because expectations for her were too high, she managed to fall short of them most of the time, which resulted in a very low self-esteem and a feeling of never quite being good enough. And my younger brother was spoiled rotten in the sense that he didn’t have to take any responsibility at all or help out. He was always the youngest and also a boy which meant that he got away with almost everything. This has resulted in him being asocial and sort of don’t fit in anywhere because he lack social competence. He also thinks he is better than everybody else and has very little empathy and understanding for others. Maybe he is the one with worst problems because he isn’t even aware that he has problems! As for myself I was treated somewhere in between. And it resulted in a little bad self-confident, shyness but still with a strong believe in my own ability. As a middle child I also learned how to adjust to my surroundings and behave with different kind of people.

So from this and other observations I know perfectly well how parents shouldn’t be or how not to treat children in my opinion! That is a great start but it is only a start. Then the work remains where you have to be aware of who you are and why. And to get to know yourself and what issues you have and address them takes time, lots o time and life experience and some deep scrutinising of yourself.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not blame my parents for my childhood. They both did the best they could under the circumstances and the times. And I know that they loved us very much. Children were supposed to be noticed as little as possible, children’s opinions weren’t counted for much and children should only know how to behave, to be polite, and do well in school. That is how it was and my parents weren’t the type of people that wanted to be different than others. In fact, it was the opposite really! To have a good facade on the outside and look as if you where successful and proper in front of the neighbours was number one of important things for my mom. I remember the first time I spent the night away from home without permission in my teenage years and came home in a car driven by an older boy at seven a clock in the morning and met my angry mother in the hall yelling;

“How dare you embarrass me like this?” “What will the neighbours say?”

“ I am so ashamed by you, Aunt Hildur is out in the garden!”

And so on. (Aunt Hildur, our next door neighbour, was indeed in her garden this early morning and saw my entrance!) My mother didn’t say a word of concern for my welfare, no questions if I have been up to something bad or been drinking or if something had happen. That didn’t matter really, not now when I was safe and home. Our neighbour’s opinion was the most important thing.

But let us continue, now that I know how I don’t want to be as a parent comes the next problem; my own personality! I am not a perfect person! So how can I be a perfect parent?

I will tell you: I can not! And to the complicated equation we also have to add my husband’s childhood and his shortcomings and personality. And do you know what; he isn’t perfect either! 

Even though I love my daughter dearly I have to say that she is not perfect! And that is more a good thing than a bad thing in my opinion. To be a perfectionist is more like having a mental disorder!

Here are some parenting tips on how to be a parent that isn’t perfect!

Minimize the damage!

Accept that even if you do the best you can you will do some harm to your child/children. The only thing you can do is to try and minimize the damage!

Your children isn´t you!

Do not try to compensate for your own childhood by giving all the things to your child that wasn’t given to you in your childhood. Your child is a totally different person than you and you don’t even know if your child needs those things or if she/he wants them!

You shouldn’t repeat serious mistakes that you are aware of are totally wrong but your child is another human being with another personality and you are not your parents.

Be who you are!

Do not try to be something you don’t is because it would look good or be accepted in your social surroundings. If you don’t want to be a soccer mom and follow the children’s soccer team in rain and sunshine on your precious little spare time - don’t do it! Explain to your child that you love them but that you have the right to some spare time yourself where you can devote yourself to your interests. If you don’t have the happy personality and love to arrange the best birthday parties or be a brilliant class mom, don’t do it! Try and find other ways to celebrate or ask help from someone who is good at it. Your child will notice that you fake it anyway and will probably feel like it is his/her´s fault that you force yourself to do things that you don’t want. But either way, ask your child first what he/she wants. Maybe they don’t want to have a big birthday party anyway. I wonder how many children at the age of tree or four years wants to have spectacular birthday parties?

And if you have to be a class mom, be a class mom after your own abilities and settle with that.

Accept that nothing is going to be as you expected!

You can’t be prepared and have all the answers in every situation that arise in a child’s life. No matter how many books you read or how many advices you get from other parents and how many questions you ask; you will not be prepared! You will have to improvise and solve things as they come. Sometimes you will make the wrong decisions and sometimes you will be brilliant. But when you fail and feel you have done wrong against your child; tell them you are sorry that it ended up like it did, but also point out that now we have both learned something from this event and we will try to do it right the next time.

Do not have high expectation of yourself!

There are high demands and expectations everywhere in our society. We are supposed to be successful at all levels, look good and perform excellent both in our carrier and at home. We strive for better and bigger without consideration if we need it or not. So it is natural that we also have high expectations on ourselves as parents. Maybe you have decided that you should never shout at your child, that you will be the patient parent that explain and explain without ever raising your voice, that you will calmly and with a smile pick up your sweet little screaming child from the floor in the grocery store in front of the candy shelves because she/he isn’t allowed candy that day, that you will go to all your child’s activities with a smile, or never miss out on a parents meeting, never miss a school excursion, never miss to pack their gymnastic bag etc! Puh!

That sort of parents does not exist!

Show that you are not perfect! Be human!

Let your children see that you are not perfect. Show them that you are angry, miserable, sad funny and happy. And show them that you fail now and then and that it is ok. By showing your child that you are not perfect they learn that they don’t need to be either. Let them fail without it being the end of the world. It is human to fail on our way of learning. How on earth are we suppose to be successful if we don’t are allowed to fail as we try? They don’t need to get all right at the exams and they don’t need to live up to others expectations. The only thing they need to do is to try after their own ability, that is quite enough even if it isn’t the best or perfect. If they have the possibility to get all right at the exams it is very good and in that case you should encourage them towards that by assisting with their homework.


We can only do the best we can as parent from our own ability. Good luck and stay human! 

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Comments 37 comments

katiem2 profile image

katiem2 5 years ago from I'm outta here

It's such a relief to hear this information on parenting tips and not to try to be a perfect parent. I don't now nor have I ever, my kids know I'm a fierce believing in using your gifts and talents for the greater good. I expect my kids to work hard, do their part and be respectful of both themselves and others.

This is a much needed message and you've done it proud. So glad to have your guidance and resources as validation to the trials and joys of parenting.

Rated UP! :) Katie

Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I was determined that my boys would not be brought up the way in which I was. Sometimes I think maybe I was a bit too lenient with them but they have always had way more confidence at their age than I did. For this I am happy. I know I am not and have never been the perfect parent but who is? Enjoyed your hub rated up!

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Katie, I am impressed that you came through all this, the words just kept coming and the hub was maybe a little long:)But now that you did;

I feel that many parents strive for perfection and compare themselves with other parents. We are all good at something so there is no need to compare with others and try to be perfect on everything we do. We do the best we can with the gifts we have and that is good enough! I am always happy to se you and read your comments! The input and your thoughts are so appreciated by me.

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Susan, That they have confidence is really something to be happy about and with that they will have advantages in life. No, no one can be a perfect parent, but we all wish to do the best we can and many parents live under enormous pressure from their surroundings. Many of us need to have lower expectations on our selves. Thanks for the "up" and your interesting comment and the validation that you do not have to be perfect. The children will grow up to good and normal people anyway!

acaetnna profile image

acaetnna 5 years ago from Guildford

Your hub is spot on in my opinion and lets hope that we all, as parents, strive to bring up our offspring to be exemplary human beings.

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

HI Acaetnna, I am glad you agree with me! And I guess you mean exemplary as human beings in the sence of humanity, empathy, kindness and sensitivity and not exemplary in the sence of perfekt manner or skills:) As a parent one can only do the best one can! Thanks for coming by, reading and leave a comment! Take care and bye for now!

acaetnna profile image

acaetnna 5 years ago from Guildford

Absolutely Thougtforce that is completely what I meant.

kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 5 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi thougtforce, I think in todays world it is very hard to be a parent, and all they can do is their best in teaching their kids right from wrong . A kid will learn more from what their parents do than what they say to do, so a parent must set a good example for their kids .

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 5 years ago from South Africa

Oh, this was a lovely read. You and I think so much alike. While reading I realized how wonderful it is to be on the level where we are able to see and understand an entire situation objectively without getting dragged down by the emotions that once kept us subjective, blind and totally unable to make a fair and righteous judgment. BTW, I identify with your sister and you remind me so much of my sister who is two years my junior.

You’ve given great tips in here – I wish I got them when I was a young mother. I’m sharing this now with my children, the parents of my grandchildren. May they not repeat my errors and learn how to minimize their own.

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Aceatnna, great that you came back and validated! Now we certainly know we feel the same way:)

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Tom, You are so right in saying that parents must behave as they teach. Parenting is like an long learning period, one will get better with practise but we will never know if it is good enough for that child! We can just try.

It is always great to see your avatar and thanks for your nice comment!

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Martie, It is so good to know that we share the same thoughts you and I! I think it is wonderful to have come so far too, but I don’t like that it has taken me such a long time to get where I am now. I have been angry at my parents from time to time and blamed them for all my shortcomings. It is much easier to put the blame on someone else but yourself. It takes a while to understand and accept facts and realise that I am the only person who can change my life and do something about it.

Interesting to hear that you share my view on how siblings are treated. Maybe it is often so that the oldest child gets in a special position that can be difficult to handle, my sister is 3 years older than me and was given responsibility even for the things I did wrong.

I do hope my daughter will have it easier than me. But who knows? Sometimes I think evolution isn’t progressing at all. We seem to be unable to pass on the right knowledge to the next generation. Or maybe it is a vital part of life and we all have to work with our shortcomings. Some will have to work more and some less.

Take care of your self and your family!

Ruzica profile image

Ruzica 5 years ago from Windsor, On, Canada

Great tips and sharing thougtforce, also well written hub. Nothing can prepare you for parenting, and we learn as we go. Expectations and perfectionism that you have pointed out are big ones, because this is so routed in our society, we need to turn that around and try to live more authentically and rather kindly.

We grow with our kids. Because of them we are trying to be better people and simultaneously are giving them example. What ever you would like your kid to be, you HAVE TO be it yourself.

LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

Move over Dr. Spock, and step up thoughtforce. For me as a parent, I would have loved to found this Hub 30 years ago. The goal of trying to be perfect has been the undoing of many of us. Thanks for taking off the pressure and giving all parents/children permission to be human. Beautiful. Voted up and shared!

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Ruzica, it is great to see you! Yes we learn as we go and it is a wonderful learning lesson:)To become a parent means that the real work starts and as a person one develop in a totally new way than before. If we can practise authentical living and kindness as you say we are one the right way. Thanks for your great comment and thoughts on this subject!

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hello Lilly, I am glad you think so. I became a parent a bit late in life and locking back, maybe it was for the best! It can´t be so easy to be a young parent with all the expectations for absolut happiness and perfection. But we all do the best we can and it mostly turns out well in the end. Thanks for you lovely comment, for sharing and yes; Dr. Spock has to move from now on:)

crystolite profile image

crystolite 5 years ago from Houston TX

Good advice for parents and intending parents.i enjoyed.thanks for sharing.

ljmama869 profile image

ljmama869 5 years ago

Wonderful's a hard lesson for all us parents to learn that it's expected to be a hard job, and mistakes will be made....after all there is no real handbook. But in the end its the most rewarding experience I've ever had :)

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

crystolite, I am glad you liked this hub and thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi ljmama869, Yes it i a very rewarding experience and something I wouldn´t want to be without. But it would have been nice to have a handbook! It is through our challenges we develop and to be a parent is the greatest but also the hardest. As parents we are constantly questioned by ourselves, by other parents, friends and also by our children when they grow up! So there is many opportunity to think about how we are and why we act like we do. Thanks for stopping by and for your comment!

gajanis786 profile image

gajanis786 5 years ago

Yes I do agree what you have written doubt parenting is the most difficult assignment and needs to be dealt with all of the intellect and maturity. It's just as important a profession as any other one but the hard fact is that how many years of parenting education and training do we parents acquire in comparison with any other such profession? Thanks.

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi gajanis786, you have a good point there! No, normally we do not get so much education, we simply have to learn by practice. Maybe if we tried to pass on something more than just practical things to the next generation they would be better off than us. But then again, they will probably not listen anyway. New parents are totally occupied with those practical things around a baby and are always busy. The only thing we can pass on is a more relaxed approach. That’s how it is, we learn as we practice. Thanks for you comment!

JLClose profile image

JLClose 5 years ago from OreGONE

I'm glad I stumbled upon your hub. I am a parent of three young ones, and my daily prayer is that I can get through the day without causing too much damage! But you're so right--no parent can be perfect. It's just not possible. What we should focus on is being the best we can be for our children, and making sure they are loved and safe and nurtured.

Great hub! I am off to check out your others.

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

JLClose, nice to meet you! With three young ones I can imagine that you have many both great and hard moments. It seems though that you are on top of it and giving them love security and all that is neccessary! I am happy to see you here and thanks for reading and leaving a comment!

Genna East profile image

Genna East 5 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

What a terrific hub! When I was raising son, I was guided by a lot of what you have written here. I think the most important thing is that we talked; or rather, communicated quite well, openly and honestly. His opinions, what he was experiencing, were very important, and I wanted him to know that his Mom and Dad supported him in what he wanted to do. I didn’t want there to be this generation gap or gulf between us. It worked out quite well; he is very happy with his life, and that makes me happy as well.

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Genna East, that must be the best receipt of that you did great as a parent! It is something that all parents want for their child/children. And to have a good and open conversation is probably one of the most important. With a good conversation we can avoid so much sorrow and misunderstandings. I am so thankful for your very kind comment and appreciate your visit here. Take care ~Tina

KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

thoughtforce, I firmly believe that children learn not only from their own mistakes but from their parent's. There is no such thing as a perfect person, so, why beat yourself up trying to be a perfect parent.

Wonderful, well-written, well thought out hub. Rated up and useful.

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi KoffeeKlatch Gals, yes why even try to be a perfect parent, I so agree with you. Yet I see many parents trying so hard to be "perfect". There are so many unwritten "must haves" when it comes to parenting and the advices from other people starts immediately as soon as you are pregnant. After that the advices keeps coming whether you want them or not, usually in the best of intensions. But as an inexperienced parent it can be hard to find the middle path in all this and find your own parenting. Thank you very much for your kind words and for the encouragement! Tina

Sinea Pies profile image

Sinea Pies 5 years ago from Northeastern United States

Your child isn't you is GREAT advice. I've seen it too many times...people trying to make up for what they didn't have but they go overboard.

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Sinea Pies, I am so glad to meet you! I have seen it too and even if it is done in the best intention it is so wrong. I am happy to see you in my corner and Thanks very much for your comment!

Docmo profile image

Docmo 5 years ago from UK

Tina, you are wise beyond your 20 odd years ;-) this heartwarming, sensible and immensely readable hub on parenting is so reassuring and so insightful. I am keeping this bookmarked and remember this every time My own parents anxieties (and worries about social acceptance) try and talk through me! voted up and awesome.

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Docmo and thank you for this comment with wonderful adjectives that makes me very glad! As I wrote, my parents had the same worries about social acceptance and although I don’t share their views I must fight those types of thoughts from myself now and then. I am delighted if this hub can help you to do the same. I especially appreciated that you guessed my age so correctly:)Thanks for the rating! Tina

Mrs. J. B. profile image

Mrs. J. B. 5 years ago from Southern California

Beautifully written... Our childhoods, the sibling line up, the absent but loving Dad and the Strict Mom eerily mirrors my own upbringing. I also have made the same mistakes as you with my kids.,..

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Mrs.J.B, I guess we are many with the same upbringing, and sadly it do matter and it takes us many years to repair the damage. I only hope my daughter will have it easier than me, but who knows. She is a different person than me and she might think otherwise! Thanks for your support and your kind comment. At least we do the best we can:)


Mrs. J. B. profile image

Mrs. J. B. 5 years ago from Southern California

Tina: That is all we have. You and I both started out with good intentions and then decided our children should not suffer the way we did but something down the road got tangled.. We are survivors and can deal with so much more than others. Wait you'll see what we wanted from the beginning with a few snags here and there we will actually accomplish in the end!!! We are troopers...

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Mrs.J.B., you are so right; that is all we have and I think that has to be good enough! Tina

Mrs. J. B. profile image

Mrs. J. B. 5 years ago from Southern California

Tina although we know we have made mistakes both are daughters are not like us.. That is what we wanted. We wanted them to be stronger, smarter, independent etc... but when they took a stand against us, it's like what? HUH? But we achieved our goals. We did not dare have a voice against our Mother's.. Well it could have meant our last day on earth, a good butt stompin or solitary confinement. Now as they get older TYG day by day.. We know that they can take care of themselves, are not going to take any crap and lord only knows how we did it... So shall we have a toast to that?

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