Moms, in case you haven’t heard, we are not perfect. We put on our masks to cover up our imperfections. In this study through the book No More Perfect Moms we are learning how we can become authentic with ourselves, our families, all those around us. But what about the way we view our kids? Let’s look at chapter 3 of our study as we deal with the fact that not any of us have perfect children.
No More Perfect Moms – Chapter 3 – No More Perfect Kids
Here’s a reality check: “Your kids are not perfect. Their imperfections are not a reflection of you. . . The most beautiful thing you can offer them is your imperfect self who does her best to handle their imperfections with love and grace.”
Let’s be real – we set boundaries, we have expectations, but we don’t factor in mistakes and misbehavior. We are caught off guard and find it difficult to bestow grace and understanding because straying off the path was NOT part of the plan.
In chapter 3 we are given a true/false quiz of 10 questions to examine how we do with unrealistic expectations. I have to be honest – I didn’t do so well. Be real and take time to recognize the unrealistic. Am I overestimating my child’s ability to use self-control? Do I put the same expectations on my toddler as I do my 10 year old? Do I require the same self-control from my 7 year old as I do my 18 year old?
The author includes some fascinating science in this chapter. Brain development and maturity does not happen all at once. In fact, it is a process spanning even beyond their teen years. Early on the back part of the brain matures first – the area that controls their interaction with their environment. That’s where the senses are controlled – seeing, hearing and touching. And then the brain learns to coordinate those senses. It isn’t until later that the frontal part of the brain develops. That is where the logic center is. The is the part of the brain that plans and organizes and analyzes consequences.
So, why am I sharing this biology lesson? Because it helps us understand that the expectations we put on our children (and ourselves) should not necessarily all be the same for everyone at every age. Yes, yes, we all know this. But do we live it? Do we expect mistakes and failures in order to allow them to grow and master the behavior and character we want the to have? Or are we really expecting them to ‘behave’ after being told, when they really have not learned exactly how to behave yet.
I believe Jill Savage hit on something very true with her list of 5 reasons why we find it difficult to accept mistakes in our children. We 1) want control, 2) want to be needed, 3) want approval of others, 4) are fearful, 5) are impatient. These things say a lot more about the parent than they do the child. Do you remember what I wrote at the beginning of this post – your children’s “imperfections are not a reflection of you”? We may say that, but in our child-centered culture it’s hard to believe.
So, what do we do? Ephesians 6:4 tells us “do not exasperate your children. Instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” It’s easy to dish out discipline and punishment when my children don’t measure up to my expectations, but I will be much more effective when I take time to train and instruct, giving them the tools to measure up, and learn from their mistakes.
I want to be a mom that can laugh at her mistakes and her children’s shortcomings. When my toddler son dropped his drawers and relieved himself on the bushes one Sunday morning in front of the church building (true story! there’s a similar story in the book) I was at first horrified, but quickly was able to laugh with everyone else around me. I want to be a ‘yes’ mom, who willingly allows her children to discover through messy experiments and crazy explorations even when it means helping them clean up the failed attempts. I want to be a mom who loves with a Christ-like love, the love we read about in 1 Corinthians 13.
Do you remember the antidote we discussed in Chapter 2? Reject pride and embrace humility, reject insecurity and embrace confidence, resist judgment and embrace grace. Administering this antidote to the expectations we put on our children and ourselves will give them the room to grow and learn and make mistakes and mature.
How do you keep your heart and attitude in its proper place when handling the messiness of raising imperfect children?
Have you been following along with our study? Click on the image above to see the list of all the posts in this series. I’d love to hear how it’s encouraging (and challenging) you! No More Perfect Moms is available on Jill Savage’s website, or favorite book vendor such as Amazon (that one is my affiliate link) I hope you’ll pick up a copy and join in the fun!
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