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Perfectionist parents are never satisfied with their child’s performance and their own performance as a parent. They can’t tolerate their own mistakes and hence can’t tolerate the mistakes of their children either. Their need for control often exaggerates to the extent that instead of helping their children, it starts ruining their bond and creates a negative environment at home.
How Your Perfectionism is Hurting Your Child
There is no harm in being a perfectionist. Knowing what you want and exactly how you want it is what makes you a successful person in life. But adopting the same approach for parenting is a risky decision to make. Perfectionist parents often forget that their perfectionist behaviour harms their children more than benefiting them. To understand how perfectionist parenting affects children, you must know signs of controlling motherhood and try to rectify your behaviour before it’s too late to do so.
Characteristics of a Perfectionist Mother
Controlling motherhood and related behavioural characteristics can be easily observed in certain parenting styles and situations. To be sure if you’re a perfectionist parent or not, check your parent-child relationship for the following signs —
- You are constantly obsessed and stressed about managing your time between home and work.
- You are never satisfied with the quality of food your children are eating, the amount of time you are spending with your children and the attention you are paying to their performance in school.
- You find it difficult to relax unless all your chores for the day are over and remain constantly irritated with yourself.
- You keep pushing your child towards achieving the best possible grades, take up extra-curricular activities and excel at all of them.
- Any time you fail to do something for your child, you feel seriously disappointed in yourself and experience depression.
- You can’t handle your children’s failure in school and at anything else they do.
- You like to be on top of things and know every single detail about your child’s life.
If you have recognised two or more signs from the list above as your own character traits, then you are most definitely a perfectionist parent. You can’t settle for anything less than perfection. While previously your work served as an outlet for your perfectionist tendencies, your children are your new project and you are putting in your best efforts to become a perfect parent. But in reality, instead of achieving your dream of perfection, you are straining your relationship with your kid.
Harmful Effects of Perfectionist Mothers & Fathers
While your perfectionist behaviour may be much appreciated at your workplace, as a parent you have to learn to let go. Harmful effects of perfectionist parents on children are –
- Children also learn the same stressful habits and strive to be perfectionists. Although it is a good thing to have high standards for performance, it is not good to be constantly dissatisfied and unhappy. If your child also adopts the same perfectionist behaviour as you, he/she is bound to get frustrated with situations where external factors will not allow them to remain in control.
- Children may rebel against your controlling and perfectionist behaviour. While some children adopt substance abuse and self-harm practices, others simply stop relating to you and start developing a negative outlook towards you.
- Children may also stop trying at all. If you are a highly successful perfectionist parent, your child may labour under constant pressure of superior performance. This may force them to either stop competing or deliberately underperform.
Instead of pursuing idealistic standards of parenting and losing the real connection with your children, you should learn to let go every once in a while. Perfectionism in parents is more harmful than it is beneficial. So, expect a little less from yourself and make yourself as well as your children a lot happier.