Guidelines for Imperfect Parenting

I’m so happy to have Nicole Schwarz from Imperfect Families guest posting today. Parenting is an exhausting, tiring job. Sometimes we get trapped into thinking that we need to be perfect parents all the time. The truth is, we all have good moments and bad moments. Nicole has some great guidelines for us to help reset when things don’t go as imagined and be awesome, imperfect parents!

Guidelines for Imperfect Parenting

The door slams shut as your kids return home from school.

Backpacks are thrown everywhere, papers are thrust into your face amid the persistent demands for snacks.

It’s too much. You snap. “Enough! Look at those backpacks, I just cleaned the living room…” The rant continues.

Suddenly, you notice three sets of eyes fixed on you.

Your thoughts turn negative, “Oh No! I blew it again! Why can’t I just stay calm??”

All is not lost!

We are parents, not robots. We have feelings, just like everyone else. We have good days and bad days.

Your kids don’t need a super-parent, they just need you. Not the perfect version of you, they need the one with the faults and imperfections.

If you’re ready to embrace imperfect parenting, here are some guidelines:


Be goofy, tell jokes, sit on the floor and learn how to play Barbies or make a LEGO machine. Sure, it might be uncomfortable at first, but your kids will appreciate your effort.

Say “I’m Sorry”:

Apologize for your part in an argument or misunderstanding. Model the type of apology you’d like to receive from your child: “I overreacted, I’m sorry.”

Brainstorm together:

Show that you’re willing to explore new ideas by opening up brainstorming sessions with your kids. Hear their suggestions and give them a try!

Get it wrong:

Instead of worrying about saying the right (or wrong) thing, make an educated guess. If you’re corrected, say, “Oh, can you help me understand?”

Make mistakes:

Model the saying “everyone makes mistakes” by pointing out your own: “Oops, I poured too much milk” or “I interrupted you, please continue.”

Take it slow:

Your kids are learning every day, and you can be learning too! You don’t have to master every parenting skill right now. Focus on one or two things at a time.

Try new things:

If one piece of parenting advice flops, try something else. This shows your kids that the first suggestion is not always the one that will work best.

Be intentional:

Positive self-talk or a mantra can help you stay focused on a goal. Even though it will not be true 100% of the time, use it to get back on track.

Seek help:

If parenting is too much for you right now, it’s ok to find support. You are not a horrible parent! It shows that you want to make changes for the good of your family.

Offer help:

Chances are, there are other parents around you who could use some support. Instead of giving advice, encourage them, listen and find ways to help each other.


Back to the Story…

You take a deep breath, then say, “Oops. Sorry to yell like that! I was feeling a little overwhelmed. Let’s find a snack first, then I can give you my full attention. I can’t wait to hear about your day.”

Your kids learn that sometimes you feel overwhelmed. They saw you take a deep breath. They heard you apologize. And you still had a nice afternoon.

Wow. That’s a lot of teaching. Way to go, Imperfect Parent!



Bio: Nicole Schwarz is a mom to 3 little girls, a Licensed Therapist and Parent Coach. Check out her blog, Imperfect Families for more positive parenting tips and learn more about how Parent Coaching can help you find solutions to your parenting challenges.

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