Want to really help your kids be more resilient, determined, creative and
happy? Stop trying to be the perfect parent and hiding the struggles in your own life.
As women, we face an enormous amount of pressure to appear to have everything under control, 24-7. Add that to the fact that conventional wisdom tells us children shouldn’t be overburdened with adult concerns (which is true) and you have the beginnings of a pressure cooker. Many mothers, out of concern for their children, shelter and buffer their existence so well that it’s natural that kids think being an adult comes with an all-knowing power to solve everything. As girls get older and begin comparing themselves to their seemingly infallible moms, they might start to feel overwhelmed and inadequate.*
Kids need to feel safe and know that their basic needs are going to be met. As long as those things are secure in your life, however, letting your kids see that life in the adult world isn’t always easy can actually be beneficial to their development. By showing kids that you sometime struggle with figuring things out, you’re giving them permission to be creative and take reasonable risks when solving their own problems. By letting kids see that sometimes you fail and then have to put the pieces back together again, you’re also sending the message that it’s all right to be vulnerable and that we have the ability to get back up when we fall.
Many of the challenges that we face every day can teach our children how to navigate the world around them. Budgeting at the grocery store, practicing nonviolent communication to settle a dispute with another parent or neighbor, trying to balance career and family - all these things can teach children valuable lessons. An honest parent who is trying her best is a much more realistic life example than a ‘perfect mother’ who presents a façade that’s impossible to live up to.
So give yourself a break, Wonder Woman, your kids will thank you in the long run!
*Note: There is a whole conversation to be had about boys and dads in this dynamic, but that’s for another day.