Giving Your Kids The "Best" Attitude
By Solomon Brenner

Should I encourage my children to aim for perfection?

Parents can easily let their perfectionist side get the best of them when it comes to their kids. We want our kids to be the best at everything, but while we are busy dreaming of Nobel Prizes, Academy Awards and gold medals, all these expectations can be very stressful for our kids.

No one is perfect, so what makes us think our kids are? If you teach your kids that they need to be perfect all the time, you and they are only going to be disappointed. Teaching your kids to reach for perfection may seem like a good idea, but it can lead to serious self-esteem issues when they fail to reach those impossible goals.

Take a look at the “pageant moms” of the world who push their kids to their absolute limit to achieve what they see as success, meanwhile stealing childhood from their kids. Kids need to be kids. If they don’t live their childhood now, they will do it later when they are supposed to be functioning, mature adults.

Some parents feel that their kids are a second chance for them to accomplish goals they never reached when they were younger. Remember that your children are their own people. They have their own likes and dislikes, which may or may not be similar to your own. It may take years of experimenting with different activities, sports or clubs for your children to figure out what they like to do, but it is important that you let them figure it out for themselves.

Instead of insisting that your kids be perfect, teach them to aim for their best. No one can do better than their best, so as long as they try their hardest there is no way your kids can let you or themselves down. If you expect your kids to be perfect you will always be able to find something wrong with them. Kids are human and they make mistakes just like everyone else. We shouldn’t be pushing them to extremes to meet our own ends. We should be pushing them to do their absolute best and put their best efforts into everything they do.

Being too harsh on your kids when they do make mistakes will cause them to keep feelings, thoughts and accomplishments to themselves. They will be afraid of disappointing you and therefore will not share anything with you. To build a healthy relationship with your kids you need to be there for them no matter what mistakes they make. You have the power to be the encouraging voice that enables them to try again. If you support all your children’s endeavors and challenge them to reach for their dreams, not only will they be happier for it, but they will also respect you more for it, too.

Solomon Brenner has been teaching martial arts to children and adults for ten years, and holds a 6th degree black belt in Kenpo Karate. During that time he has held countless seminars on subjects such as self-esteem in children and teens, behavior and discipline, praise vs. punishment, career motivation, goal setting, parenting, and self defense. He has spoken to elementary schools, women's groups, scouting organizations, civic associations and corporate seminars. Using these experiences, he has recently authored Black Belt Parenting, a motivational how-to book for parents.

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