Really, there is NO such thing as ‘perfect’. Also, neither is there such a thing as ‘control’. Yet, we seek both of these things until they kill us. There will always be greater and lesser than us, always. Parents attempt to ‘control’ their children, young and adult children. Yet we see not one person can ‘control’ the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of an infant, toddler, young child or older child. Parents’ attempts to do so bring about the emotional pain and cruelty suffered by the very young with no idea why these things are happening.
Authoritarian family systems would say the harder a parent is on their children, the more strict and difficult their upbringing, then everything will turn out okay.
History shows us that attempting to control brings about resentment, long lasting resentment. This is because this type of parenting withholds the communication and information necessary for that young child to understand he or she is a wonderful person. Lack of communication is key to control. Nothing works better than leaving an individual guessing what they might have done wrong to deserve being treated so poorly. Likewise, is it possible to control anyone in his or her adolescence? Absolutely not. Yet, this is the exact age where parents bring down heavy-handed authority, just when the child is beginning not to listen.
Adolescence is the stage of growth and development when a human being requires from parents understanding and an ability to listen, than at any other time. All anyone needs to do is go back to when they were about 13 or so to remember what it was like to be told things over and over again by a parent. We stopped listening to our parents for new lessons to guide us long before. Your teenagers are not listening! They are watching what YOU are doing.
Perfectionism is only found, I have heard, in a baseball game or baseball player’s score and stats. That is all. Expectations around perfectionism and control kills. That is where and why we are seeing our teens giving up. The younger generation sees suicide and drug overdose as acceptable answers to the impossible life they see ahead of them based on what is expected of them.
Those in high school who are ‘average’ students are the most susceptible to this.
It once was that getting a 4.0 in high school meant ‘the best’. Now students can strive under the hell of peer pressure to get 4. a thousand! I have clients from about 14 upwards of 26 years old, or the end of adolescence, who begin to give up in about 10th grade.
These students who find drugs, alcohol, sex, spending and so on, hang out with others who feel the same way about themselves. There is no one to blame on the part of the parents as well as on the part of the people these adolescence hang out with. We find people to hang out with that feel the same way about themselves as we do about ourselves.
Letting go of ‘perfect’ or ‘control’ shows us how to be in reality. To see that the real world is about living with humanity with all of it’s flaws and beauty. That is who we are.
Debra Whittam is the author of “I'm I Going to be Ok?" For any media inquiries or questions please contact: Contact@DebraWhittam.com