Are You Expecting Your Child To Be Perfect?

Is your child spending seemingly endless hours playing video games, which makes you wonder if he has a video game addiction. Even if he is addicted to video games, it is useful for you to understand what could have driven him to this point.

Newly published research suggests that when parents have critical attitudes towards their children’s performance and become too focused on failure, it can contribute to the development of addictive gaming behaviours in their kids. Their kids are also more likely to become perfectionists themselves: setting and pursuing unattainable high goals in life as they internalise their parents’ criticisms.

Perfectionist parenting sets a child up to believe that he is a failure if he doesn’t achieve the highest standards. Putting too much pressure on kids to be perfect sends the wrong message. Your child may cheat on his schoolwork to get good grades to appease you and to escape punishment. 

Kids who think they have to be perfect are at a higher risk of mental health problems, like depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. They’re also good at hiding their symptoms, so often their mental health problems go untreated.

Finally, perfectionism is linked to self-defeating behaviours like procrastination. If you have been a perfectionistic parent there are three things you can begin to do to end the vicious cycle of perfectionism.

Cut your child some slack. If you are expecting perfection from your child, you are probably also expecting the same from yourself. Therefore, the place to start is to cut yourself some slack.

Send healthy messages about failure. Research shows that children of all ages need to be able to make mistakes without fear of major consequences in order to learn. Let your child know that failure does not define them but is a necessary part of life.

Pay attention to your child’s effort, not the outcome. Opportunities to praise your child are present in nearly every situation. You just have to know how to recognise them. Watch my videos on “How to praise your child” to learn more.

By Parcsen Loke, Family Life Coach, Centre for Fathering. 

Food for Thought: How does it make you feel and how do you react when your child does not meet up to the standard you have for him/her?