No Perfect Parent
This month’s video, “No Perfect Parent,” discusses how there is no parent who is perfect—and that perfection is not the goal in parenting. According to Karl Pillemer, Ph.D., in parenting, sometimes “the perfect can get in the way of the good.”
Pillemer writes, “Most parents hold themselves up to some kind of perfect standard when they evaluate their parenting. ‘If only,’ they say, ‘I had encouraged Johnny more with music, he would have used his talents.’ ‘If only I had provided more opportunities for Mary to play with other children, she wouldn’t be so shy.’”
Of course many of the “if onlys” work two ways: “If only I had pushed Jane harder with her studies, she would have done better in school” can ring just as true as “If only I hadn’t pushed Jane so hard, she would have done better in school.”
However, no one has perfect children, and no one can raise perfect children. This goes against one of the basics of Scripture: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). This includes both you and your child—we all fall short of God’s perfection.
You aren’t a perfect parent, and God doesn’t expect you to be. Only He is perfect.
However, He does expect us to acknowledge areas where we have sinned—perhaps mistakes you have made since becoming a parent—and seek His forgiveness. But then, embrace His grace. The Bible says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22–23).
omorrow is a new day, and you can step out in confidence and faith that God will be right with you as you seek to become a better, good, and more godly parent—but not a perfect parent.
What is your definition of a perfect parent? A parent who knows exactly the right way to raise a confident, responsible child who excels in school, is an amazing friend, loves Jesus, is kind and compassionate, and never argues? If this kind of parent exists, I’d sure like to meet him or her.
The reality is, there is no perfect parent. The video this month discussed how there is No Perfect Parent—only our perfect heavenly Father. And yet, God in His sovereignty and perfection has ordained you to be the Mum or Dad to your child. He has entrusted you with this task, and it was not by accident. The Bible says, “Those who have been given a trust must prove faithful,” (1 Corinthians 4:2). God only asks us to be faithful in parenting, not perfect.
The following are some points of encouragement as you strive to parent your child:
Mistakes are okay and expected. As a parent, recognize that it is normal to feel worried, confused, angry, guilty, overwhelmed, and inadequate because of your child’s behaviour or choices. That is part of being a parent. Recall your childhood. Perhaps you made some poor choices or were difficult to parent, too. Keep in mind, your parents were not perfect either . . . And here you are!
Don’t live for your children. Living solely for your children puts you in a sticky situation and is setting you up for future disappointment or frustration. No one can receive all their fulfillment from any human being, much less a child. Find other activities that bring joy and fulfillment outside of your role as Mum or Dad.
Professional help is wise when necessary. Some kids are simply more difficult to raise than others, and it has nothing to do with the parent. If problems become too intense, rather than trying to fix everything yourself, seek outside help.
Depend on the Lord to be your child’s ultimate parent. Isaiah 64:8 says, “But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand” (ESV). God created your child exactly the way He intended. When you feel you are at a loss for how to parent, talk to God about it and remember: He is not unaware of your struggles, and He is your child’s perfect parent.
Let’s re-define what perfect parenting means, and instead call it “faithful parenting.” Follow God’s instruction in His Word, pray, and then release your child to Him. I know this is probably one of the most difficult things to do, but it will truly free you of some of the weight of trying to do everything right.
I have many resources available. Don’t hesitate to email me if you have more questions or need help. I’m here as a support!