5 things to remember when teaching your children that parents are not perfect

I love my dad and I love my mum, and I believe that you have parents who you cherish and love so much.

I believe you are working hard, everyday, so that your children may experience everything that comes with love.

You tend to them, laugh with them, hug and kiss them, read them stories, wipe their tears when they cry, be their judge and attorney when somebody has been unfair to them, help them with their home work, help them with their talents, teach them new skills, answer the numerous questions they ask every week, put a smile on their faces when they are sick, give them gifts, let them play with their friends outside, teach them how to pray, help them work on their self-control and self-confidence, teach them what love really is…prepare meals for them…

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You are like a shield to them.

God has given you the opportunity to raise them to be good, responsible persons, and that may mean doing some of the things I have mentioned above plus much more.

It is a struggle everyday and many parents are doing their best. On top of tending to their kids, they also have to tend to themselves, their spouse, work, friends, colleagues, relatives and other kids, if they have more than one child.

It is a lot of work, something that make young people sometimes look at the lives of their parents and say in awe, ‘How do they manage to do all these?’

Even if someone would argue that most children nowadays don’t care so much about all the struggle their parents go through to keep their families on the right track, I’d say that the thought of ‘my parent is really awesome’ crosses the minds of many children, even if it is just for a second.

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Sometimes the life of a parent seems so perfect to the kids: leading good lives and taking care of each member of the family. If they only knew how much effort it takes.

In school, some kids take to honouring their parents – singing them praises in a way that shows they are thankful for having such wonderful parents.

This is the time when most families are stable and things are really going well – no divorce looming, no quarrels, no child abuse, no shortage of money and no fights between mom and dad.

Kids take turns in comparing their parents and try really hard to convince their friends (or the bullies in the neighbourhood, or at school) that their dad or mom is awesome.

It is an abstract painting of perfection that to most kids’ eyes fit the definition of the word ‘perfect’ perfectly well.

Most parents go ahead to reinforce this mentality of perfection by, forgive me, not giving their kids the best answers (or info) available to the tons of questions they ask.

Personal opinions become facts and a few times, facts become opinions, and you might say that most parents do this because they are only protecting their children and doing everything they can to make their lives better.

What do some parents do?

1. They tell their kids that parents (or adults) don’t lie and are never wrong

The faster this lie is stopped, the better, unless one is bent on leaving their child wallowing in confusion for quite some time.

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2. Saying that they only do what is in the best interest of the kids and their decisions are therefore good for the young ones – they have the final word

This is not always the case. Human beings have this habit of putting themselves in other people’s lives – like writers sticking their names on book covers – sometimes doing this without even realizing that they are just filling a person’s heart with resentment.

It would be much better, if your child knows that you are someone who can listen to them and take what they say seriously.

Your name doesn’t have to be on the cover.

Slip it between the pages.

It never makes you less of a parent. It’s hard to do, but you can do it.

3. Saying that they earned high grades in school and behaved much better when they were their kids’ age

This may be true, if you avoid the pit of exaggeration many always like to rush into. But we all know the problem of comparing your children with other children, right? It is the same thing, when you look at yourself back then and compare yourself with your son or daughter – it is still like comparing two children.

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If you have been doing this the wrong way, you should apologize and think of ways of making things better – don’t let your child’s heart be weighed down by layers of bitterness and feelings of inferiority. Just tell them the truth.

Don’t let them stumble upon your high school certificates (or listen to grandma’s tales on how you used to behave) to find the truth.

4. Unknowingly holding a child in fear for too long by the way you predict their future

This may be worse especially when your child thinks you know so much about their future and you keep telling them that it won’t be good if they don’t do as you tell them – even if what they are doing is also right.

This happens in cases where a parent wants their child to conform to certain standards that really have nothing to do with how to lead a Christian life. If your life’s purpose is clashing with theirs, take yours and live it and let them live theirs.

5. Don’t spend a lot of energy trying to reinforce the idea that you are a perfect being, a perfect parent, because:

  1. no one is perfect.
  2. some create perfection (and want to be seen as perfect) but their lives and actions say the opposite a few times a month.

Do this as a parent instead of trying to be a perfectionist

  1. Let your kids know at the earliest opportunity available that nobody is perfect, and that it takes hard work to make ones quality of life better. Don’t hide your weaknesses (and strengths) from your children.
  2. Be a person who remembers that he or she can be wrong sometimes.
  3. Be a parent who doesn’t have a problem saying sorry to a child.
  4. Teach your kids what really matters in life – that is where they should strive to put in more work. And it starts by you trying very hard to provide the right answers to the questions they ask.
  5. If you find out that your kids see you as this perfect being, find a way to tell them about all the things we have discussed above.

I wish you and your family the best.

Share some of your wisdom, observations or experiences in the comments section below. And read more parenting articles on Niabusiness.

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