What You Need to Know About the Age of Perfection
Candice Lapin explains our cultural fear of failure in her fascinating new book
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What are some examples of the Age of Perfection ?
Tiger parents! I think we have placed that style of parenting on a pedestal because going faster or pushing our kids seems to be the only answer to reaching success in this Insta-world. Also, Renata, Laura Dern’s character in Big Little Lies, is a great example of a mom that “overdoes” it. The moral of that story arc is that mom was absolutely wrong in her assessments of her daughter’s classmates.
Other examples are bulldozer parents on the sidelines of any sporting events and “stage parents,” like we have seen on the Netflix show, Dancing Queen.
We need to understand that while this protective instinct to insulate children is natural, it is one that needs to be kept in check, so kids learn to do for themselves. Part of developing maturity and resilience is getting the opportunity to face our obstacles and imperfections so we can exercise those valuable muscles!
What effect is the drive toward perfection having on kids?
I think children today are far more critical of themselves, more anxious, and far less willing to take risks than their predecessors because they fear the criticism and judgment of their peers and often their parents.
Because they can access their world so quickly, children have developed far more unrealistic expectations of themselves, which is so unfair.
What can we do to prevent the fear of failure from damaging our kids?
Decrease social media time. Create ground rules in the home around screen time.
Echo the message that humans are not perfect. It’s okay to make mistakes. You need to promote compassion and patience.
Encourage your children not just to share good things, but to tell you what didn’t go so well. Parents and adults should also share something that didn’t go perfectly well to show their kids they are human, too.
Positive thinking and compassion are muscles, so exercise them. If you have a child that tends to run negative, spin the negativity into a positive thinking—and teach her how to instinctively think positively.
Make a list of things that went really well. If you have a nightly ritual around reading or winding down, I would add this. Just like working out, you might not see the benefits right away, but give it a week or even a month. After a month, assess the list and have your child begin to write down a different aspect of himself that he likes.
Reframe mistakes as learning experiences. Now that your child is thinking positively, it will be a little easier to help her understand that mistakes, failures, and missteps are part of life.