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Rule 2 of Parenting: No One is Perfect

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Richard Templar explains that you shouldn’t give yourself too hard a time when you fall a bit short of the standards you set yourself. After all, what kind of an example would it be to your kids if you were unable ever to fail, even a little bit?

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This chapter is from the book

Have you ever thought what it would be like to have perfect parents? Well, think about it now. Imagine your parents had been faultless when you were growing up (I’m betting they weren’t).* Suppose they were textbook parents—that your mother was always right. Sound like fun? Of course not.

Look, kids need something to kick against when they’re growing up. They need someone to blame, and I’m afraid that’s your job. So you might as well give them something to blame you for.

So what’s it going to be? Nothing cruel or abusive of course—you need to pick something that’s not unreasonable and shows a bit of human frailty. Maybe you’ve got a fuse that’s just a little bit shorter than it should be? Perhaps you tend to put a bit too much pressure on them? Could it be that you’re slightly neurotic about keeping everything tidy and ordered? Or tell you what, better still, why bother to choose? Just go with your own natural imperfections, and then you don’t have to make an effort. Chances are you have a character flaw or two that will come in handy here.

Of course this doesn’t mean that you’re off the hook, that you shouldn’t try to improve your parenting skills. Apart from anything else, that would make the rest of this book redundant. It just means that you shouldn’t give yourself too hard a time when you fall a bit short of the standards you set yourself. After all, what kind of an example would it be to your kids if you were unable ever to fail, even a little bit? I wouldn’t like having to live up to parents like that, and I don’t suppose your children would either.

Your children are going to blame you for something, because that’s how it works. If you were perfect, they’d have every reason to blame you for that. You can’t win. You can only hope that eventually, especially if they become parents themselves, they’ll come to see that actually they should be grateful to you for not being perfect.

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