the words of tim walker

the myth of the perfect kid

we parents are an emotional, neurotic mess, aren’t we?
sure, some of us are better at hiding it than others, but push the right button or confront the right issue, and every one of us comes to a point when we feel helpless.

we knew so much. maybe it was when they were younger. or maybe you always felt overwhelmed.
but there comes a point, a stage, when we’re not quite sure how to navigate it.

despite what others may think around us, we know we’re not perfect.
just ask our kids—especially if they’re teenagers.

so if we’re not perfect parents, then why do we expect our kids to be perfect?
before you shake your head and say “not me,” think about this—do you ever . . .

see them fail?
maybe it’s introducing a beloved relative to your toddler, and he’s pitching a fit because he wants another cookie.
or you find out your daughter is being mean to another girl in her class.
or your teen fails a class he needs for graduation.

every kid will fail at some point. why? because they’re not perfect. they will do something we don’t want them to do. or they will not measure up to a standard on a team or in the classroom. or they will make the wrong choice.
sound familiar? it should. because it’s the things that you and i have become painfully aware of through our own life experiences.
sometimes our little angels are less than angelic.

expect more of your kids than what is age-appropriate?
would you expect your three-month-old infant to be potty trained?
your 12-year-old to know how to drive a car?
your 16-year-old to have the perspective of a 25-year-old?

i’m a high expectations kind of guy. i always expect a lot, so with maturity and wisdom, i’ve realized that my expectations may not be reality. but when it comes to my kids, my first reaction is “you should know better.” and sometimes they don’t. sometimes they don’t have the life experience to know what to do in a situation. or they’ve never been taught.

sometimes they just simply don’t know.

your kids are in process. you are too.

encourage them to be more perfect than real?
is your family a place where doubt can exist.
or opinions?
do our kids feel like they need to put up a front with us?

sure, someone has to run the asylum. someone has to be in charge. but are we communicating to our kids with our words or actions that what they believe right now (which is in process, remember) isn’t as important as what we believe?

because if we don’t give them space to doubt or question, belief may never become something that is internal, or personal to them. It may simply be environmental.

as a parent, you know you’re not perfect. you’re aware of where you fall short.
but the reality is your kids aren’t either.
let them be human. let them be in process.
guide them. direct them. instruct them.
but also realize that sometimes they will act their age, and show their humanity.


(Note: This post was originally published by The Parent Cue Blog.)

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