… and openly admitting it is a tremendous gift you can give yourself AND your children.
We all know people who refuse to admit to mistakes or to apologize when they should. Those characteristics don’t help them at all: the objective is to seem infallible, but the actual result is often the opposite.
As parents, we feel pressure to give our kids the confidence that we’ve “got it,” that we’re in control of everything, and that they have nothing to worry about.
We know it’s really important for our children to feel secure, and that can lead us to the “infallibility trap.”
Infallible is impossible
… and it can create unnecessary stress to try to achieve (or portray) it. Who needs more stress that won’t lead to anything? Not us.
At times like these, we have to look to the great philosophers of our time. Like, for example, Big Bird.
Or, you might listen to Brené Brown, best-selling author of The Gifts of Imperfection, or catch any of a wide range of TED Talks on the subject.
But Big Bird really does say (sing!) all we need to know.
Being “real” is a relief for you, and a gift to your children
Everyone makes mistakes. Openly accepting that as parents can have tremendous benefits for our own mental health, and can help us give our kids important opportunities to build empathy and reasonable expectations of their own.
Children who grow up in a world where parents always succeed and are always “right” have little opportunity to learn what resilience looks like. Real failure isn’t in failing to achieve something – it’s in failing to learn from having failed to achieve something. Sharing with your children how to recover from mistakes is invaluable.
Children whose parents hold themselves to unreasonably high standards grow up believing their own imperfections make them a disappointment. Letting them see us make mistakes and forgive ourselves for them gives our children permission to do the same.
Children whose parents are always “right” never learn what a gift it is to be shown the respect of an apology from someone they deeply admire. When we apologize to someone, we acknowledge their feelings and their value, and we show how their experience is important to us. There is little more important for a child to understand in their relationship with a parent than that.
Imperfection is as human as having goals and seeking love. Go ahead and embrace it!