Perfectionism usually involves an intense preoccupation with unrealistic expectations. If you’re a parent, this preoccupation can affect your children. Perfectionists might be afraid to try new things because they might fail, or they may be completely unwilling to accept any type of criticism.
An intense focus on perfectionism can blur the identities between parent and child. Parents may feel that a child’s failures or mistakes affect them personally and make them look imperfect. Parents who are obsessed with this can harm a child’s still-forming identity.
A child who lives with a perfectionist parent has a higher risk of low self-esteem. Each perceived mistake carries significant weight and can make the child feel inadequate. Children often mimic their parents’ fixations and that includes failure aversion. They may feel their worth is only tied to producing perfect grades or excelling in sports.
Lack of Joy
Perfectionism can make parents miss out on the joy of raising their children. The obsession with being perfect can even make fun situations—like family trips—a nightmare. No one can relax when everything has to be perfect.
Fear and Anger
Parents who are perfectionists may end up with children filled with fear and anger. Why finish important projects or start new ones when failure isn’t allowed? Their anger may also encourage rebellion.
Perfectionists have a higher risk of suffering from eating disorders and depression. They are also more likely to consider and commit suicide. The psychological impact of perfectionism can last for years.
If you’re a perfectionist and a parent, you may want to consider how you’re affecting your children. Taking a step back and allowing for imperfection can minimize long-term consequences on you and your family.