Organizing Theory & Artistry

Ruly Recap and Reader Feedback: Perfectionism and the Parent-Child Relationship

"Babies" (1921). From the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Hard to believe but summer is 2/3 over and it is time to recap this month’s discussion of perfectionist parenting!

I started the month sharing with you some of the Google search keywords people have been using to query perfectionism and the parent-child relationship and my own interpretation of what these keywords may be telling us.

We explored society’s tendency to blame parents for every defect in their children as well as recent research identifying the biggest regrets people have about their lives. I suggested that a major factor motivating perfectionist parents is the possibility to correct these regrets in their children.

My dad commented simply:


I reviewed the controversial book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua and asked whether you identify with the 10 core beliefs of the tiger/perfectionist mom.

I compared and contrasted the upbringings of authors Sandra Tsing Loh and Amy Chua, both Asian American women raised by demanding parents, and the impact this upbringing had on their own development and parenting.

Ruth commented:

“I think too little expectations diminishes the potential return on investments–esp. with children!! . . . [E]ncouraging and pushing our children to try to exceed expectations is always a plus! and done correctly, these kiddos will thrive and continue to push beyond on their own as well.”

We looked at the experience of extraordinary mom, Rose Rock, mother of comedian Chris Rock, as well as 9 other children and 17 foster children. Mama Rock successfully raised all of these children in a tough, inner city environment, instilling in them excellence without perfectionism.

If we need a reminder of how important and how special mothers like Rose Rock are, check out this brief video for a current NPR series on the devastating impact of high school dropouts in the United States and how severely minority groups are impacted by this trend.

Ruly Ruth offered advice on how not to be unnerved by unsolicited parenting advice and the typical pitfalls faced by every parent.

Amy commented:

“As a retired counselor who worked with many families and children, I find these loving comments “right on!” Hardest job ever, parenting…take care of yourself first, the rest will follow…”

Finally, we took a peek inside the family counseling practice of Dr. Brad Sachs and looked at 10 examples of psychological hang-ups in perfectionist parents. Notably, these hang-ups have little to nothing to do with the actual behavior of children and largely deal with past, unresolved hurts in the parents’ lives.

I hope this month’s discussion has helped you think a bit more about your goals as a parent (or reflect on your childhood and raising) and perhaps identify areas where you might improve your technique or revision your feelings.

Next week, I hope to be starting a new parenting adventure of my own as well as a new Ruly theme. (Due to the impending birth of my child, I will have some content auto-posting on the website but you may not hear from me for a bit via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. For those who rely on e-mail or Facebook alerts, I will post a catch-up list of links when I return.)

Have a wonderful weekend!