3 Lies Your Children Tell You

By: | December 26, 2014 | Tags: |

In October a friend and former neighbor of mine published a book called HOW TO BE THE PERFECT PARENT.  Other than minor jealousy, after all, I too was a writer about to embark on a potential blogging career, I asked myself what qualified her to be the perfect parent.  Thus began a two-month journey in which I examined the truth behind parenting, or at least the truth according to Janice (that’s me, the author of Reflections).For two months I’d planned this post.  I attempted but failed to write a post explaining how to be the perfect parent.  I intended to explain that since I was the perfect parent, I was qualified to write this on those grounds.  The words never came.  When I failed to pen the answer to the age-old question, “How to be the perfect parent,” I assumed this would take a point/counterpoint format in which I argued in favor of perfection and simultaneously against it.  Still, the words never came.  They never came because after two months of soul-searching I’ve come to the realization that I disagree with my friend.  I haven’t read her book; I haven’t seen her book.  I’ve only heard of it.  I don’t plan on doing either because after two months of exploration, I realize there isn’t a word her book could tell me that would substitute for my first-hand experiences.  They all add up to one realization.  Perfection is not a goal parents should want to attain.

The First Lie Your Children Tell You

How about, “Mom or Dad, everyone is doing it.”  There are so many examples of this.

  • Everyone is failing, so it’s okay
  • No one does their homework, so I don’t have to do it either.
  • Everyone (chews gum, does pot, other, pick one), so nobody cares.

Parents, please don’t believe these.  You will look so gullible your children will lose respect for you.

The Second Lie Your Children Tell You

Mom or Dad, if you want us to be close, you must be my friend, and friends would ignore my rule breaking.  Give my a break.  Unfortunately, parents are so desperate to be close with their children they lose perspective.  I once read an interview with an actor who explained his parents gave him drugs as a child, and they all did drugs together.  Today he wishes he’d had parents who wanted to be parents instead of just his friends.

The Third Lie Your Children Tell You

You must be a perfect parent.  My daughter Dana told me I could not be a perfect parent due to my baggage.  I wanted to tell her, insist, maintain (it was that important to me it bore repeating three times) that I was perfect despite my imperfections.  I have reached the point that I don’t care because I no longer seek to be the perfect parent, and here’s why.

  • First, experience gives us wisdom we pass on to our children no matter how old they get.  Our wisdom keeps growing until we’re planted in the weeds.  There’s an expression for those religious types.  It goes, “God isn’t finished with me yet.”  I’m not finished, so I’m not perfect.  What would my friend say to her children in ten years?  She reached perfection in her fifties when she wrote the book so she has nothing more to add?  I will always have more advice to give my kids as I continue to evolve as a person.
  • There’s another expression (I’m into expressions)  that says, “Show me a happy man, and I’ll show you a failure.”  When you are happy, in this case feel you’ve reached perfection, you stagnate.  It is the opposite of growth and evolution.  Contentment is not happiness; it is stagnation.  Bullet two goes with bullet one.  If stagnation is bad, (and I maintain it is,) perfection is bad because you can’t get any better than “perfect.”  It’s perfect, so by definition you can not grow once achieving it.
  • Many of my readers know I’m a school teacher.  I was once told never to give a student an A+.  The logic is the same.  An A+ means the assignment was done perfectly.  The student can not do better next time, so it is impossible to try to grow.
  • Here’s another quote for you.  A father was smoking in front of his children which I do not approve of since second-hand smoke is toxic.  His daughter told him that a perfect parent would never smoke.  He responded by explaining, “If I were perfect, I’d be insufferable.”  In other words, perfection is boring.
  • Janice is on a roll, here is another quote: “Security is mortal’s greatest enemy,”  according to Shakespeare in his play “Macbeth.”  Do not be secure in your relationships with your children.  There is a huge change between ten and twelve physically and emotionally.  At ten children still cling (figuratively if not literally) to their parents.  By twelve, they have started to pull away from parents as they near adulthood.  I’ve knownparents who took that elementary-school-age clinginess for closeness, and then they were blindsided when it went away.  Do not take your closeness with them for granted.  You do reap what you sow.  (Another quote, I know.)

In closing, I have three daughters.  Dana, my oldest, wanted perfection from me but felt it was not achievable due to my “baggage”.  Rachel, my youngest, on the other hand, told the girl I thought was her best friend that her best friend was in fact…me.  (Hayley and I have not discussed the topic.)  Before leaving for college this fall, Rachel told me that I did a “good job” as a mother.  It’s okay that my oldest doesn’t consider me perfect.  I’ll keep trying to grow as a parent and a person and, for the reasons I’ve given, hope that I never achieve perfection.

Readers, what do you think?  Is perfection a desirable trait in parents?  I look forward to your views.

  1. John Doe

    I think there was a lot of thought in this post. Your conclusion you reap what you sow says it all. If your kids turned out the way you wanted and you are proud of who they are then you did a great job. Perfection is a realatve word in this sense. I substituted the word great job. It sounds like you raised three girls that go or went to college,are sweet, and did not get pregnant. That sounds like perfect parenting to me

  2. Chinemerem Ifeoluwa

    you did a great job. Parents need to balance being parents and being friends with their children at the same time, by so doing, your children will know that there is a thin line between you being a loving, friendly, understanding parent and a strict parent who disciplines her/his children. #join me at http://www.nemerulez.blogspot.com

  3. BritishMumUSA

    Ooooooooh, I love this post… Thank goodness there is another parent out there that recognizes that a) each parent is different, so how the heck can you write a book on perfection b) no one is perfect, NO ONE!!! We are constantly learning and growing, so how can one be perfect??? I parent with humor, sarcasm, and wine on occasion 😉 I have never wanted to be their friend as they grow up, I have always wanted to be their mum. Friends leave, let down don’t tell you the truth. I won’t leave any time soon, I will do my up most not to let you down, and I will always tell you the truth. (Yep, that outfit is ugly) I have a 17 y/o who will be leaving next year for San Francisco to study, we live in the Midwest, I know I have done a good job as she feels comfortable enough to go and do this. I also have a 12 y/o who is rocking it.. Yep we butt heads on occasion, it could be daily, weekly or monthly, but you know what they come home, they live, they laugh and they cry and they go out there and make me proud. Again, I love this post, it is REAL!!!!!!

    • Janice Wald

      1. Thank you so much for your kind words, specifically your last sentence. You’re the only one who has written that comment to me. I always write from the heart. The truth I write comes from the personal experiences I’ve lived and observed.
      2. You sound like a great mom. Sometimes I wish I could be funnier, and other times I feel I’m so funny I will lose their respect. We walk a fine line.
      3. I love the way you compare Moms to friends, and Moms come out the winner. I may quote you.
      Thank you again for reading what I wrote, commenting, and your flattering words.

        • Janice Wald

          Thank you so much, and again for getting my writing exposure. I put it on my “About” page that you are regularly featuring my writing.

          • NIMWOwl

            Ms Wald, have you written anything for Young Parents concerning dealing with day-to-day stress?
            I am getting ideas, and asking Our Circle for their ideas on drawing young Parents on Google to Our Circle. Our Circle is Role-Model Rich, and all very good people, and Parents. Many of these young parents just might benefit from the wisdom and family-oriented environment of Our Circle.
            I am getting more and more caughtup, so I also have more and more time for reading, but feel free to point me in a direction when you can Please..
            GOD Bless You and Your Family,

  4. Pingback: 3 Lies Your Children Tell You
  5. crazyloveparents

    Yes! I am always pointing out to my children how I am NOT perfect. I also make mistakes, but that it’s important to try to learn from them. It seems to help them realize that no one is perfect, and to give grace to others when they discover the imperfections of those around them, including themselves.

    • Janice Wald

      Thanks for responding to my post. Sounds like you and I are of the same mind on this one.

  6. lindasblogs

    In hindsight,those lies crack me up. Everybody’sDoingItBeAFriendBePerfect. Sure. My favorite line to my then-teen was a variation of “Do you think I was born this old?” Not the words of a perfect mother, but the honesty of a good mom. Looks like you raised good kids, congratulations!

    • Janice Wald

      Thanks a lot. Rachel went back to college today and actually told me that I’m the best. AWWWW! Well, I’m going to repay the compliment to you. You sound really funny. I bet you raised your kids with humor. I didn’t know you had children let alone that old! How old are they? Boys? Girls? I have all girls.

  7. Pingback: How to Write Powerful Headlines [Ultimate Guide]

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