GIVEAWAY: Jill has graciously given me 3 copies of her book, No More Perfect Moms, to giveaway to my readers! Please comment below for a chance to win. What’s the antidote you most struggle with in parenting your kids?
In my book No More Perfect Moms, I introduced the concept of the Perfection Infection–the effect on our minds and spirits of the wide-spread, sanitized, airbrushed standards we see every day in the world around us and our deplorable tendency to compare ourselves.
In an effort to fully understand the power of expecting perfection, let’s examine the ten dangers of perfectionism. See if you can read these in two ways: (1) through your own childhood experience, and (2) through the eyes of your children.
1: Children won’t ask for help because they can’t admit they need it
2: Children will resist trying new things.
3: Children who don’t make mistakes won’t develop resiliency.
4: Children will relate to parents from a perspective of fear.
5: Children may develop a negative and critical perspective toward themselves and others
6: Children may expect perfectionism from others even though they don’t like trying to meet the expectation themselves.
7: Children will focus primarily on what they can not do, rather than what they can do.
8: Children expected to be perfect may hesitate to own and believe in their successes because of the stress.
9: Children will not believe in or experience the beauty of unconditional love.
10: Being raised with perfection as a goal can negatively influence children’s spiritual growth and how they relate to the God of the Bible.
The antidotes for the Perfection Infection in parenting are compassion, perception, acceptance, and love.
In my parenting life–before I got serious about addressing the Perfection Infection in my own parenting–I was a “buck up” mom. Push through the pain. You’re okay. Don’t dwell on the disappointment; instead look to the future. However, God’s been softening my heart on this. Sometimes I need to just listen to my kids I need to feel their pain without a need to fix it.
As a parent, you know it’s important to be in tune with your kids. What do they like? What do they dislike? Do they need alone time? Are they creative? Athletic? Musical? What’s important to them?
Perception not only helps us see how a child is wired, but it also helps us connect with how well he is doing emotionally. Kids don’t usually walk up to you and say, “I’m sad today.” Instead, they will lash out at a sibling with words or they will withdraw and be unusually quiet. Perception reads the cues a child is sending.
Every human being has a core need to belong. We want to know that people believe in us, approve of us, and accept us for who we are. We especially long for this from our parents.
In the midst of mistakes, poor choices, or progress, we need to make sure our children know they are still loved and accepted. We want them to know they belong to us no matter what. Acceptance doesn’t only need to happen when mistakes (also known as progress) are made; it also needs to happen when our kids are just plain old different from us.
It’s one of the most overused words in our vocabulary, and it has such a wide spectrum of meaning. Love is a blend of affection, devotion, and loyalty. It is part emotion and part commitment. Real love–unconditional love–is hope blended into the reality of life.
We learn about love from God, whose love is perfection, unconditional, and never-ending:
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Our imperfect children need to know that our love is never at stake. It protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres.
Without even realizing it, however, we sometimes parent with this equation: Bad Behavior = Withdrawal of Affection. It’s a natural human response to conflict and frustration, but it’s not a healthy one at all.
When God is the leader of our life, He asks us to deny ourselves and follow Him. That means resisting the way we want to react and instead choosing to respond the way God wants us to respond. There’s a battle that happens inside of us between doing things our way and doing things God’s way. When we let God win that battle, we take another step of maturity in our faith. We also get to experience a sense of joy when we experience the victory of handling things God’s way instead of our own.
GIVEAWAY: Jill has graciously given me 3 copies of her book, No More Perfect Moms, to giveaway to my readers! Please comment below for a chance to win. What’s the antidote you most struggle with in parenting your kids? Winners announced Friday at 8pm PT.
Jill Savage is an author and speaker who is passionate about encouraging moms. She is the author of seven books including Real Moms…Real Jesus, No More Perfect Moms, and No More Perfect Children. Jill is the founder and CEO of Hearts at Home, an organization that encourages, educates, and equips moms. Jill and her husband, Mark, have five children and make their home in Normal, Illinois. http://www.jillsavage.org and http://www.nomoreperfect.com