Parenting is not for p#$$!@$ It is the hardest job I have ever had the pleasure of doing. I have met some parents who insist on telling their children that they are “perfect”. It is my opinion that is a BIG MISTAKE. Being perfect is too much pressure for any human much less a kiddo. I get the good intention behind the compliment but it causes more harm than good, in my humble non professional opinion.
In many parents’ eyes of course their young are perfection personified. They might think calling their child is perfect is one of the ways you show your ENORMOUS love for him. The truth is, no one is perfect and each person is working really hard to live and grow. I think kids are better served to know that they are works in progress and that they NEED to change and not stay the same. It is POSSIBLE to change and change should be welcomed if it leads to a better way of being.
I love someone that was told he was perfect all through childhood. Not only was he perfect, his siblings were too and they were all absolutely equal. No one was better than the other and they were loved exactly equally. I’m not kidding. I get what the young parent was trying to do. She wanted to make sure that her kids did not compete maybe. Perhaps she grew up with siblings who were pitted against one another for affection. Who knows? But I can tell you that my friend had the hardest time with change. If his wife was not gushing about him, then he felt something was wrong in their relationship. He never wanted to tell her when something went wrong because then she may see him as less than perfect. He put himself through hell for years.
I think when you tell a kid who has an immature brain that they are perfect, they might interpret that as “I don’t have to change who I am or what I am doing because my parents think I’m perfect.” See how confusing that is? I mean being a kid is all about change. They grow, stretch, have new experiences and change again. . . and again.
I think that as parents we have to do the hard work of teaching them reality. I like telling my daughters things like, “Wow – you have a 94 average in math? That is your most challenging subject! Great job!” or “I like you both in different ways.” I love you just the way you are – I love you when you are grumpy and I love you when you are funny. I love YOU so be whatever YOU are today.” Don’t worry, I also tell them, “I don’t like your attitude right now – you better change it.” I think being a parent means you have to remember who you are talking to. You have to understand their level of understanding and try to help them interpret what you are saying simply and TRUTHfully.
This is why I tell my kids often – YOU ARE NOT PERFECT. I’m not perfect and I don’t know anyone who is. I love who you are and I can not wait to see the adult you become. I am here to help you be the best YOU that you can be. Once you leave the “nest” you will change again and become who YOU want to be. Know that I will love you no matter what but I hope you become a fulfilled adult who is proud of your accomplishments. That is all I could ask for as a mother.