How to Cope with the Challenges of Perfectionist Parenting

How to Cope with the Challenges of Perfectionist Parenting


The majority of the time, perfectionism doesn't actually inspire us or help us achieve more, despite the fact that we occasionally mistakenly believe that pursuing excellence and striving for perfection are synonymous. In contrast, it leads to Stress, anxiety, issues with stress management, poor Physical health and mental health, and the fallacious idea that one must work for one's own value and love.

For many families, the pressure on today's parents to provide for their children in every way is a serious issue. It's understandable that parents feel pressure to be the ideal parents, given the prevalence of online mommy wars, judgmental looks from in-laws among friends, and social media shaming.

What is perfectionist?

When we compare ourselves to something or someone else, usually in terms of our parenting decisions, we are practicing perfectionism as mothers.

It often stems from the idea that one should. What we believe we ought to be doing as mother’s shapes our standards. And there are many sources for those ought to be:

  • Our own mothers and the trauma they pass 

  • Other than as mothers, how we see ourselves

  • Experiences and viewpoints of other family members

  • Pressures from society

  • Social media

Perfectionist parents

Children who grew up with goal-driven, perfectionist parents who exhibited or encouraged this way of thinking and behaving and may also pick up perfectionism. Children who receive excessive praise for their accomplishments rather than their efforts or progress are more likely to develop perfectionism. Instead of the process or the child's character, what the child accomplishes is the main focus.

However, being a perfectionist may not only cause you to experience extreme stress, but it also poses a risk to your child's wellbeing. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to change your expectations of yourself and your child if you do practice perfectionist parenting.

Signs and Symptoms of a Perfectionist Parent

Some parents who strive for perfection are perfectionists in every facet of their lives. They are the best at everything they try; otherwise, they wouldn't even try. To accomplish their goals, they suffer great sacrifices.

And by most measures, these individuals are prosperous. They never feel quite good enough, though. Some people only strive for perfection when it comes to parenting. 

Some of them demand perfection from their children, while others demand perfection from themselves. They may think that high standards would lead to excellence, but in the end, their pursuit of perfection backfires.

Signs that you may be expecting too much from yourself as a parent

  • Regularly criticizing yourself

  • When your child fails, you should not blame yourself.

  • Comparing your parenting to that of other parents and feeling inadequate

  • Despite the fact that you already do a lot for your children, you are criticizing yourself for not being able to do more for them.

  • Constantly questioning your parenting decisions

  • Frequently losing your temper as a result of having too many expectations

Signs that your expectations for your child are unrealistic

  • Difficulty watching your child performs an action if she does not follow your instructions

  • Directing your child's attention while she is completing a task

  • Putting your child under pressure to achieve perfection

  • More criticism of your child than praise

  • Encouraging your child to pursue their dreams

  • Making your value depend on how well your child does

  • Considering your child's activities, such as a math test or a soccer match, to be life-changing occasions

The Negative Effects of Perfectionist Parents

In spite of the fact that your perfectionist tendencies may be well received at work, you must learn to let go as a parent. Perfectionist parents' negative effects on their kids include:

  • Children pick up the same demanding habits and strive for perfection. Although having high expectations for oneself is a good thing, being unhappy and dissatisfied all the time is not. If your child adopts the same perfectionist attitude as you do, he or she is likely to become irritated when circumstances arise outside of their control.

  • Your perfectionist and controlling behaviour may cause your kids to rebel. While some kids start abusing drugs or self-harming, other kids just stop talking to you or start having a bad attitude towards you.

  • Children might also give up entirely. Your child may struggle constantly to perform at a high level if you're a highly successful perfectionist parent. They might be forced to stop competing or perform poorly on purpose as a result of this.

You should learn to let go occasionally rather than pursuing idealistic standards of parenting and losing the true connection with your kids. Parental perfectionism is more detrimental than beneficial. So, lower your standards a little and you'll be much happier, as well as your kids.

How to Overcome Perfectionist Thinking

  1. Express your emotions.

Perfectionists hold back their feelings. You need to get very familiar with your emotions if you want to repair that damage. This procedure is comparable to restoring strength to a muscle that has loss of function.

  1.  Reconnect with your true desires

You need to recognize your true desires so that you can stop living your life for other people. Consider it while remaining still. Think about it and journal about it. Have discussions with your loved ones, coaches, and friends. Try many things, "fail" at most of them, and then try again. Find out what you want by any means necessary, and then pursue those goals until they become a regular part of your life.

  1. Laugh

Perfectionists have a propensity to take everything in life too seriously. 

Whether you set aside time to laugh by watching comedies in theatres, stand-up comedians, or trained improvisers, or not... You will benefit from learning to laugh at life and at yourself as you learn to let go of perfectionism.

  1.  Recognize and priorities your own needs

Try flipping the script instead of over-functioning and putting everyone else's needs before your own. First, tend to your own needs. Many perfectionists are clueless as to how to even start such a task.

Don't worry too much if you've historically been a perfectionist parent but are now able to relax a little—obviously it's that you're making an effort to be the best parent you can be. Additionally, your readiness to admit your flaws, take responsibility for your errors, and give yourself some leeway will set a positive example for your child. However, if you find it difficult to let go of the notion that you or your child must perform flawlessly, you might want to think about getting help from a Counseling psychologist or an Online counselor. Sometimes, a mental health condition like an anxiety disorder or a history of trauma causes the desire for perfection. Other times, perfectionism causes significant issues like relationship issues or chronic stress. You can get help from the Best psychologist delhi or Therapists in delhi to get past perfectionism. And doing that might be the best thing you can for your child and yourself. 

Schedule a mental health therapy session at the Psychowellness Centre. well-known and competent psychologists. The facility is near NOIDA, Janakpuri, Dwarka, Faridabad, and Delhi NCR.

Contribution: Dr (Prof) R K Suri, Clinical Psychologist, life coach & mentor TalktoAngel & Ms. Swati Yadav Psychologist.