Never Quite Good Enough
I worry about one of my clients who is only eight years old. He is smart, cute and is loved by his family. They provide him with so much as far as lessons, camps, etc. He is given responsibilities and they hold him accountable for his actions. He lives in a beautiful home. So why do I worry when he seems to have so much going for him?
Because no matter what he does, they expect more. He came home with a report card that had five As and one B (86) yet his mother, upon seeing it, frowned and said, “We’ll talk about it later,” and his father’s first comment was “It’s okay, but you could do better.” The way I see it, it’s possible to always do better. Yet perfection at what cost?
The parents also complain that he doesn’t have a passion about anything and see that as a flaw that he has nothing that motivates him. He is on a sports team and plays pretty good and interacts well with his teammates. When I talk to the child, he seems very content and reports that life is good.
From a counselor’s viewpoint, he is doing well. Yet I sense that he is beginning to notice that he never really meets his parent’s expectations. And as he matures, he will become more aware of this.
I know all parents want their children to do well… be successful… have friends… and be happy. Can that happen when perfection or near perfection is expected in every area? If we judge, can we love?
Here’s to accepting our children—and making sure they know that!
Copyright © 2013, Sharon Scott. No reproduction without written permission.
P.S. Please see my other column The Counselor’s Corner.
The guide for parents/educators on how to peer-proof children and teens is Peer Pressure Reversal: An Adult Guide to Developing a Responsible Child, 2nd Ed.
Her popular book for teens, How to Say No and Keep Your Friends, 2nd Ed., empowers kids to stand out,not just fit in!
A follow-up book for teens, When to Say Yes! And Make More Friends, shows adolescents how to select and meet quality friends and, in general, feel good for doing and being good.
Sharon also has a charming series of five books for elementary-age children each teaching an important living skill and "co-authored" with her savvy cocker spaniel Nicholas who makes the learning fun.Their book on managing elementary-age peer pressure is titled Too Smart for Trouble.