Have you ever looked at another family and thought, "Wow, how do they do it? They are the PERFECT family"?
What if I told you there is no such thing as the perfect family? Every family has their STUFF. Whether they let the world in on it or not, they have their struggles and challenges just like the rest of us. Fear of being judged, lack of support or a high tolerance for deviant behavior may be the reason the perfect families in our midst are not asking for help or sharing their struggles and that is okay, but it is time we talk about it. Honestly, I get really ticked when parents are NOT REAL about the ups and downs of their lives - they are really doing a disservice to their children, to themselves as parents, much less the community at large. Get real...family is messy, raising children is messy, raising hurt children is REALLY messy and getting through life is MESSY!
There is no way our children could ever feel like they are good enough if we are looking to be the perfect family. When we stay stuck in this kind of thinking, we create expectations that include having a perfect child. (Well now that is a set up if I've ever heard one.) We compare and question...why is my child still doing that? When will my child change? The quality of our life cannot be dependent on our children being perfect (or anything near); that just isn't fair! Our call is to meet them right where THEY are at. To teach them they are good enough. To hold them accountable. To keep them safe and healthy. To remind them over and over again that we will be there for them NO MATTER WHAT and for as LONG as it takes!
What an exhausting nightmare it must be to have to be the perfect parent. Seriously. It must be a lonely place. Never able to let your guard down, vent to a friend, or just break down and cry. Not able to ask for support. Never knowing that you are not alone - that other families are sharing the same path. Ugh...it makes me tired just thinking about it. I have to tell you...being perfect won't make your child love you any more. It wont help them heal any faster. As a matter of fact, it might be the opposite...what if they don't feel like they measure up? What if some day they just stop trying? Be Real...surround yourselves with others that get it. Use tools and techniques that work for YOUR child. Open yourself to being honest about the hard stuff.
As a parent who is not perfect - not anywhere near -I want to share a few secrets with you. It is okay to wonder if you are the right person for the job some days. What if I told you that in adoptive and foster families it is common for parents to admit to having a hard time liking their child. Feeling stuck or in a bind as a parent is not an uncommon feeling. Worrying about your child's future is shared by many. Not knowing what to do in the moment is happening to millions of parents at any given moment. You are not alone! You don't have to pretend that everything is great all of the time...you can just BE REAL!
Here's the thing...our world will never be able to support any of us (our children or us parents) if the story isn't consistent. How do we expect others (family, friends, teachers, doctors, etc) to get it if one family is FINE while another in the same situation is NOT? When we are all honest about the struggle, share what IS working and hold each other up, we empower others to support our work. Whether they live it or not, they will see the truth!
We have to BE REAL, life is messy and it is okay to need help and support, and it is REALLY OKAY to not be perfect!