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The Perfectionistic Parent
The Never Satisfied Parent
There are parents who are supportive of their children and unconditional in their love. They love their children right and wrong. The childhood environment in such homes are loving and free with several opportunities to explore myriad facets of life. Life is to be savored and thoroughly enjoyed! Failure is not in the vocabularies of such parents.
These parents believe that trials and so-called mistakes are normal occurrences of growing up and maturing. They further believe that if a child does not make mistakes and error, how can he/she learn and grow from such experiences. Children growing up in such a supportive environment often have a high sense of self and are self-starters. They have the initiative and develop the acumen to succeed in the world. Furthermore, these children are not afraid to take risks and are quite fierce!
Then there are those parents who can be aptly described as perfectionistic. These parents believe that if something is to be done, it should be done right, properly, and correctly. These parents constantly criticize their children for common childhood occurrences. It is the goal of many perfectionistic parents to have a little adult who is the exact replica of them!
Children of perfectionistic parents are always on their guard and must behave as perfectly as possible lest they incur parental wrath. If they make a mistake, their parents treat them as if they have committed a mortal sin. Perfectionistic parents often view mistakes as a personal affront to them. They have their standard of behavior which is not to be violated and transgressed by their children for whatever reason.
For example, perfectionistic parents are often obsessively neat and punctilious. They are extremely intolerant any form of untidiness or what they consider errant behavior in any form. If their child exhibits the normal behaviors of childhood i.e. spilling milk and/or messing up the furniture, this parent would go into a tirade and accuse the child of being clumsy, inept, or worse! According to this parents, children are to be self-contained and self-controlled. Furthermore, they should know how to respect property and to keep it clean!
Perfectionistic parents inculcate to their children that they were never be good enough no matter how hard they try. Many such parents further indoctrinate their children that their best is simply not good enough-they can always do better and better! Such parents are also short on praising their children. They actually do not believe in praising their children because such praise will either make them conceited with the so-called exaggerated importance of their self-worth and/or praise would make their children lazy and complacent.
Perfectionistic parents believe that as good parents, they are to mold their children into the perfect definition of an adult depending upon their definition. These parents maintain that in this postmodern, competitive, and computerized society they must constantly motivate their children to obtain perfection in their academic and/or extracurricular achievements. To these parents, to be number one is the difference between being accepted into top notch schools which there is a great likelihood of a top college and career and average schools with its dismal consequences.
If their children cannot and/or do not meet parental expectations, the children are not given any excuses or any quarter. Many perfectionistic parents consider their less achieving children to be either stupid and/or lazy. There are some perfectionistic parents who constantly badger their children for their so-called imperfections and ineptness often demolishing what little self-esteem theymay have left.
The average perfectionistic parent believe that he/she has his/her children's best interest at heart. His/her mantra is that society is extremely tough and competitive which means that there is no room for mistakes and there is only ONE winner! Perfectionistic parents furthermore contend that a person only has ONE chance in life- so you better not blow it! According to these parents, if their child blows what is supposedly their only chance, they are doomed forever to be on the sidelines of society!
If a child of such parents make a mistake or fail for whatever reason, it is considered a catastrophic event! This child will never hear the end of this issue. To reiterate, this is not the type of parents who consider failure to be an integral part of life. In fact, they consider it to be quite the opposite- an equivalent to a mortal sin! Even if the child improves and moves on, this parent will continuously remind the child of the said mistake. If the child wants to try the same subject and/or activity again, the parent will admonish the child into not repeating the said activity since he/she failed the first time!
Children who grow up with perfectionistic parents learn not to be self-starters and to avoid risk. Because of constant parental badgering and criticism, they believe that it is better not to try than to try to fail. Many perfectionistic parents do not realize that they are doing their children a disservice by establishing ridiculously rigid and impossible standards for them to adhere them. Children should be allowed to freely explore their childhoods and to learn from whatever mistakes they made. This is how children grow, become self-starters, and independent! Perfectionistic parents are ultimately crippling their children and preventing them from becoming independent, risk-taking, and creative adults!
In summation, perfectionistic parents are controlling and unsupporting of their children. They regulate their children to rigid and often impossible standards of behavior. In the homes of perfectionistic parents, failures and mistakes are viewed as hazards, instead of growth inducing opportunities!
Perfectionistic parents also believe that there is only one winner and their children should be that winner. They adhere to the principle that there is only one chance to achieve anything of worth in this life and if you fail, then you blew it forever! Such parenting often creates fearful children who are unsure of themselves. Such children are often risk aversive and do not try anything because of a possibility of failure! Perfectionistic parents believe that they are doing their children a favor but in actuality, they are harming their children's self-esteem and future chances of success and happiness!
Books to Read on the Subject
© 2011 Grace Marguerite Williams