4 Perfectionist Parenting Pitfalls

4 Perfectionist Parenting Pitfalls #parentingToday we’re going to talk about perfectionist parenting pitfalls. If you have any perfectionistic tendencies or if you expect perfection from your kiddos, this episode is for you.

Recently, I was watching an episode of Shark Tank. One young woman pitched the sharks for an investment in their company, but the potential investors noticed one big problem with this particular entrepreneur…she was a perfectionist. Mark Cuban said something really profound.

He said, “Perfection is the enemy of profitability.” And in business that’s so true. But it got me thinking… perfection is also the enemy of peaceful parenting.

Think about it. When we hold ourselves to impossibly high standards…when we hold our children to impossibly high standards…when we try to control every little detail…it just doesn’t work. We feel frustrated and overwhelmed, and that’s when we snap. That’s when we start yelling or nagging … we lose control because we were never in control to start with!

So let’s talk about 4 pitfalls of perfectionist parenting and how we can avoid them

Perfectionist parenting discourages kids from being kids

I think one common frustration a lot of parents have is that they expect their children to behave perfectly 100% of the time. Many parents expect a level of maturity from their children that’s well beyond what they are capable of.

Many concerns we moms have about our kids are just normal developmental phases for our children. For example, it’s normal for kids to have a lot of energy.

It’s normal for kids to struggle to sit still for long periods of time. Kids spill their juice. They get mud on their shoes. They argue with their siblings. It just happens.

The key is to not shame them for their mistakes. We’re all human, and no one is perfect but God.

When kids feel safe to make mistakes, they feel more willing to take risks, more willing to come to you when they have a problem, and more willing to try new things.

Perfectionist parenting notices the negative

When we’re focused on being the perfect parent or having our children behave perfectly, we tend to notice every imperfection…every little negative detail that isn’t perfect.

This is a slippery slope because it can make your child feel like they can’t do anything right…that nothing is good enough to please you.

When a child feels like they aren’t good enough, their self-esteem starts to suffer. They also tend to withdraw and put up walls between the two of you. They may appear more distant…or they may act out even further.

Instead of noticing the negative, let’s be intentional about noticing the positive. What is it about your child’s character that you admire? How can you affirm or encourage them?

It may be something simple, like leaving a sticky note beside their bed. Or, you may want to plan something a little bigger, like a mother-daughter getaway or dinner date out.

Let’s be sure to remind our kids that they are loved unconditionally — the love that we have for them is a no-matter-what type of love. A love so big, so wide, and so deep, that it mimics in a small way, the love the Father has for us.

Perfectionist parenting doesn’t leave room for fun

When we’re busy trying to control or manipulate every situation…or when we’re living in a fantasy of what we’d hoped things would be like, we tend to be caught up in that.

When our kids have to be perfect … make perfect grades, perform perfectly in sports or music, behave perfectly all the time, that’s a heavy burden for them to carry.

Perfection doesn’t leave room for silly jokes, relaxed evenings, heart-to-heart discussions, playing pretend or getting into mischief.

Sometimes it’s just nice to kick off our shoes and have an impromptu dance party in the kitchen. Or make up silly jokes and laugh until you cry.

It’s okay to have fun and be silly!

Perfectionist parenting sets yourself up for failure

When we, as moms, hold ourselves to perfection in our parenting, we’re doomed to fail. As I’ve said many times, there’s no such thing as the perfect parent.

As someone who liked to make straight A’s in school, this is a bit of a tough pill to swallow. But, I decided to give it a try in my own life. Maybe not striving for B-, but maybe A- to start with. And let me tell you, it was so freeing. Every time I tried to be a perfectionist, I told myself, “Strive for B-. Everything doesn’t have to be A+.” And it worked!

It totally goes against the grain of who I am, but striving for B- instead of perfection is definitely something I’m learning how to do.

I think it’s similar to parenting. If we strive for A+ parenting 100% of the time, it can leave us feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, frustrated, and defeated.

The next time you blow it at your kids, remind yourself that you don’t have to be an A+ mom all of the time. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s apart of life!

Give yourself permission to take it slow and be patient with yourself as you learn to let go of some of these perfectionistic tendencies we talked about. Today is a new day to choose grace, encouragement, and freedom.


Join Marianna Chambers as she talks about practical ways to become a more peaceful parent. Having children is a wonderful blessing, but it can also be quite stressful. Every day we hear from moms just like you who are struggling to be the gentle parent they want to be. Moms desperately want to raise their children on a firm foundation of love, but those sweet kids sure know how to push our buttons. (And boy, do they push them!)

Marianna Chambers is a counselor, parenting coach, blogger, homeschool mom, and best-selling author. She’s passionate about supporting and encouraging moms. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram, or read her blog here. You can also join her private Facebook group for Christian moms on a peaceful parenting mission.

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