Stop Trying to be Perfect

Recently I attended a Circle of Security workshop for parents, and I read the book “Raising a Secure Child”.  It really rocked my world (in the best way possible). Here are some of my “take-aways” that have been helping me enjoy parenting so much more:

1. Let Go of trying to be perfect.

Some have suggested we only need about 30% success in being attuned to our child, in order to be a “good enough” parent (which research has shown will help our child thrive).  How refreshing! You don’t have to try to be perfect?! I usually expect about 80-100% out of myself – leaving myself often disappointed and frustrated because I am not perfect. (Darn it! It’s hard to be human!) “Good enough parenting is actually what our children need from us. This is backed up by research (“Raising A Secure Child” is a book dedicated to explaining this). Good enough parenting is when we can hold on to two things: first, that we are willing to hold onto our children’s best interests and second, that we will mess it up… probably pretty often.” –

Further, this book struck to my very soul when it said:

“We can’t say this often enough: Modeling perfection and the pursuit of it does not promote healthy development.  Pressuring ourselves to always get it right… creates an anxiety that our little ones can’t help recognizing.” – p. 37

So, let’s all take a deep breath together and exhale any drive for perfection you are holding onto right now.  Accepting ourselves (and our children) as imperfect beings, doing the best we can, and being willing to reflect and repair breaks – THAT is actually what’s best.

2.  Behavior is Communication

When your child is misbehaving, they are trying to tell you something that they don’t have the words or social-emotional skills to express effectively.  The best thing we can do is get curious, not furious (term from John Summers-Flannagan).  Look for what is under the surface of the behavior, and you will be more effective in addressing the behavior.  Often the behavior is communicating an attachment need:

  • Comfort/Safety
  • Encouragement to explore the world
  • Help with organizing one’s feelings/emotional experience

“Behavior is merely an expression of a child’s needs.  Behavior is a message – a message about the attachment needs that are hidden in plain sight.” (Raising a Secure Child, P. 19) 

3.  Stop searching for the “right” strategy, and tune into your inner wisdom.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many parenting techniques that I love! I utilize tools from Positive Discipline every day.  However, I learned from Circle of Security that, “The key to making good use of (parenting tips/tools) is to be equipped with the confidence to make your own choices about which advice to follow and how to follow it…  The Circle of Security is her to keep you in touch with your innate capacity for wisdom and love.”  – p. 41

I hope these refreshing suggestions will help you along your journey of parenting, today.  I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions!







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