How your kids benefit from your imperfect parenting
Before we get to the notes from this podcast episode you might've read the post title and wondered if I'd made a mistake, thinking it should've been "How to Benefit Children
Through Despite Imperfect Parenting." While I've caught a few mistakes and typos in some of my content this week, pushing past my own perfectionism I decided to leave well enough alone. But in the case of this title, there's no mistake. Read on or listen to the episode to find out why your imperfections and mistakes can benefit your children. And remember that God can redeem us AND our mistakes if we turn to him and trust that he can and will do so.
On this podcast I like for us to explore ways we can intentionally choose to break free from the tyranny of the urgent and apathy of the everyday. And today, we can consider breaking away from parental perfectionism (perhaps). The goal is that we decide to live legacy every day -- one day at a time!
On today’s episode I’d like us to consider this quote from well-known author and researcher, Brene` Brown. She states:
"It's actually our ability to embrace imperfection that will help us teach our children to have the courage to be authentic, the compassion to love themselves and others, and the sense of connection that gives true purpose and meaning to life," ~ Brene` Brown
What if you thought of yourself and treated yourself with as much compassion and grace as you do your child (on your best day)? Think of the person who most exemplifies grace, forgiveness, and encouragement to you - - the person who always makes you feel good about yourself, no matter how you’ve messed up.
Now what if every time you messed up, you were that way to yourself. What differences would your child or children (or even your spouse) notice?
Go ahead and think that through.
If we aren’t allowing ourselves space to be imperfect around our families, then what does that say about our values, how we value them? Of course we must allow them space to be imperfect as well.
The point is, even if we are not as hard on our children, treating ourselves as "less than" hurts them too. Even if it’s not showing up that way on the outside.
Especially if they have tendencies toward feeling shame and/or perfectionism themselves. I’ve needed to step back and take a look at how I might be reinforcing those tendencies in some of my own children.
Of course we want to be good parents and take care of our families and responsibilities. But accepting ourselves flaws and all helps our children have the courage to accept themselves.
What about the “compassion to love themselves and others” as stated in the Brene` Brown quote mentioned earlier. We want to be compassionate and our kids to be compassionate to others. But it’s also important to be able to RECEIVE compassion. To feel valuable enough to receive it. And to have self-compassion. We can model that for them.
Self-compassion is not failure to take responsibility or make amends. Rather, it says,
Even though I messed up, I am not a mess up.
Even though I failed at something, I am not a failure.
Aren’t these the messages we want our kids to internalize? That they are not failures just because they failed at something. We all fail at times and hopefully we learn from those failures and they become growth opportunities for us.
Today’s challenge to you -- as well as myself -- is to model turning failures into growth opportunities for ourselves and to model this for our children and others who are in our circles of influence by our words and actions.
Are you ready to do that?
If it’s hard for you to feel compassionate and understanding with yourself, it may be good to explore why that is. It may just be a habit you’ve gotten into or something deeper.
You may want to download my free resource, Self-Acceptance, Affirmations & Reflection Questions