Let’s face it, parenting is one of the biggest challenges that we’ll ever have to face in our lives. It’s right up there alongside fighting off an alien invasion, surviving a zombie apocalypse, rocket science, and plugging in a USB cable on the first try. So it’s no wonder that most parents are less than perfect. In fact, it’s pretty much the norm.
However, they’re nowhere near the level that some of the parents featured on the ‘Parents Are Effing Dumb’ subreddit are. There, you’ll find some of the biggest fails that will make you gasp, shout “think of the children!”, and think about taking these people’s parenting license away. Remember to buckle up and upvote the pics that made your jaw drop as you scroll down the rollercoaster that is this descent into parenting weirdness.
When it comes to parenting, both extremes—absolute perfectionism/trying to be a ‘perfect’ parent and not trying hard enough—can be harmful to the family. And while it’s very clear what bad parenting is, perfectionism is more insidious and sneaky and can actually end up being just as harmful as actual neglect or ignorance, though in a very different way. We spoke about the pitfalls of this with an expert in the field of psychology.
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Emma Morton, a researcher at the University of British Columbia, explained to Bored Panda the pitfalls of perfectionist thinking and how it spreads to many areas of a person’s life, contributing to poor mental health and even depression.
Believing that you should (or even that you can) be a so-called ‘perfect’ parent is actually detrimental to your health. What’s more, the belief that you can control every single outcome can spread to other areas of your life, not just parenting.
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“When we set excessive and inflexible high standards for ourselves and become self-critical about not meeting those, perfectionism can become a problem for our mental health and potentially contribute to depression or suicidal thoughts,” researcher Morton said.
“Perfectionism is a very insidious problem—even if someone achieves great success in their personal or professional life, negative thinking patterns lead them to be highly self-critical, focus on perceived mistakes, or mentally discount their achievements,” Morton detailed that a perfectionist mindset dims even the biggest victories when we tend to laser-in on the various real and imagined flaws.
The anxiety surrounding perfectionism is just as much about personal pride as it is about the desire to be respected and liked by others. “People who struggle with perfectionism may worry that they will be judged for their perceived failures, feel that they are inadequate for needing help, or assume they will be a burden on their family and friends,” she said, adding that this can make perfectionists especially vulnerable mentally and emotionally.
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As such, it’s very important that parents who make mistakes with their kids don’t overcorrect and land in the ‘perfectionist’ zone. Similarly, any parents who realize that they’re being inflexible with their standards and are overly critical of their and their kids’ (real or perceived) faults need to learn to hold back and allow room for (at least some) failure. After all, learning to deal with failure and drawing wisdom from our mistakes is what being human is all about. One thing's for sure, though: nobody wants to be that parent who ends up on 'Parents Are Effing Dumb.'