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Are You A "Perfect" Parent

February 22, 2013  |  Falmouth Enterprise

By Dr. Michael Bihari

This article is based on information from the American Academy of Pediatrics

There Is No Such Thing As a "Perfect" Parent

Many of us believe in the myth of the perfect set of parents - the model mother and father who raise happy, well-adjusted children who have no problems. In truth, there is no such person as a perfect parent - or a perfect child. In fact, problem behavior is common among school-age children and teens.  

And, There Are No Perfect Kids!

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), at any one time, on average, school-age children have about several traits or behaviors that parents find difficult. These might include: not complying with simple requests, avoiding chores, spending too much time watching TV or playing videos, engaging in sibling rivalry,  or having difficulty completing school assignments. Other common problems for parents are coping with a child who wants too much independence or hasn't achieved enough autonomy; or, a child who prefers friends or activities not approved of by mom and dad.

Mistakes are OK

Do you feel worried, confused, angry, guilty, overwhelmed and inadequate because of your child's behavior? Join the club, it’s part of being a parent. Think back to how you behaved, or misbehaved, as a child, about how your parents dealt with your behavior, and how you felt about their discipline. They were not perfect, but neither was anyone else’s parents. 

All of us (parents and kids) make mistakes in our effort to communicate with one another when trying to solve problems. As a parent you need to trust yourself and your instincts. Do not be afraid of making a mistake. Children are resilient and forgiving and usually learn and grow through their own and their parents’ mistakes. 

Be Careful About “Living for Your Children”

If you are a parent who "lives for your child" you may be putting yourself in a vulnerable position, a setup for possible disappointment, frustration and resentment. You should be careful not to get all your personal fulfillment from your children or from your role as a parent. 

Parenting can be one of life’s greatest joys, but you also need other activities to fulfill your self-image, and additional sources of love and nurturing. Most adults need time for themselves - and a break from children and parenting responsibilities. 

You should take comfort in the fact that the vast majority children turn out well. But along the way you need to keep your sense of humor, trust your instincts and seek help and advice if you are concerned. While parenting is a great challenge, it can also be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences of your life.

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES

Several of our highly recommended health-related websites have excellent articles and resources about parenting:

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