by Carolyn Aston, Director CASSE’ Peaceful Schools Program.
Response to Today Show interview with Professor Kim Oates: Are you trying too hard to be a perfect parent! Professor Kim Oates says there is no such thing! ‘ Embrace the perfections – good enough is well enough.’
As a Child/Adolescent Psychotherapist and mental health clinician for over 20 years, and CASSE’s Peaceful Schools Program Director I agree heartily with this idea. In fact, striving to be a perfect parent is actually an impossible task, therefore doomed to fail. I have worked with many parents who have felt under pressure to be perfect and it’s a very painful, thankless journey. Some parents feel they are judged critically by others and when they have high expectations of themselves this only makes matters worse. Pressure is also on them to expect great things from their children. It can also be a mind boggling challenge to raise a child who is sooo different from us, or in some cases, is so like us that we may fret.
Equally it is very tough for kids if they don’t feel inherently valued for themselves or are expected to excel beyond their capacity. And very tough too for parents who are actually frequently criticised about their parenting by friends or family, when support, encouragement and offers of babysitting are actually needed.
Perfect Parents don’t exist! Perfect parents of course don’t exist although sadly some individuals may tell us they do! We have all encountered this kind of parent who likes to boast about their ‘perfect’ children who are excelling in every field of endeavour. Usually we have the misfortune to meet these highly competitive parents when we have dragged ourselves to play group or that kinder/school function despite having been up all night that week with sick children, or having just received a school report about one of our ‘treasures’ which has left us reeling, given that to all intents and purposes this child of ours seemed to be doing OK ! Sound familiar?
Parents striving to be ‘perfect’ need our help, our empathy and compassion. We promote GOOD ENOUGH Parenting which focuses on building supportive caring relationships where children feel secure enough to share their thoughts and feelings openly, have second or third chances to learn by their mistakes, have a ‘go’ at new ventures and are open to thoughtful guidance.
JOIN US on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CassePeacefulSchoolsProgram) and stay tuned for news about our Peaceful Schools Parenting Conference Wed Aug 27th.
Our Peaceful Schools Program supports parents and has developed a parent forum to exchange ideas and stories. We offer popular sessions for parents about helping parents to manage their concern and support their child or teenager when stressed or bullied, when to worry, and where to seek help. Parents value our Peaceful Schools Program as it not only helps them as parents, but equips their children with lifelong skills to empathise and be kinder to others (especially those doing it tough) and to understand and manage conflict and bullying peacefully when safe to do so.