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Unlocking Resilience For Busy Professional Parents – Overcome Perfectionism & Raise Happy Kids

Written by: Michele Molitor, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Michele Molitor

Perhaps you've heard me speak about overcoming imposter syndrome. Surprisingly, in a recent poll I conducted, 79% of participants admitted to experiencing Imposter Syndrome since 2020. Furthermore, 84% mentioned grappling with anxiety and overwhelm, 71% feel burnout, and 66% are managing depression. These alarming figures suggest we’re in the midst of a significant mental health crisis.

Mom and daughter sitting on floor while using laptop and a tablet

Through my years of research, I've discovered that Imposter Syndrome is often the tip of the iceberg. Beneath lies a deep-rooted self-doubt, which, when ignored, evolves into depression, anxiety, overwhelm, and burnout that so many are struggling with these days. In my work across the globe, I've identified five self-doubt archetypes that hinder you: The Procrastinating Perfectionist, The Shapeshifter, The Reluctant Resistor, The Anxious Avoider, and The Fearful Follower. A staggering 43% identified most with The Procrastinating Perfectionist. Let's delve into the world of perfectionism and how to silence that internal critic for you and your family.

What is perfectionism?

Often seen as a pursuit of high standards, perfectionism can morph into a burdensome weight that affects not only adults but also the impressionable minds they nurture. It's not merely a self-imposed challenge; for many, it's an inherited trait, subtly passed down from generation to generation through observed behaviors, shared anxieties, and unintentional expectations. When unchecked, this insidious need for flawlessness can manifest in adults as chronic stress, procrastination, or a crippling fear of failure. But perhaps even more concerning is how these tendencies can ripple into the lives of their children. Kids, in their formative years, absorb the nuances of parental behaviors, learning to set unrealistic standards for themselves and internalizing fears of imperfection. This cyclical nature of perfectionism, often fueled by characteristics and behaviors from one's own upbringing, can inadvertently perpetuate a legacy of self-doubt and anxiety. For the busy professional parent, understanding and confronting these toxic perfectionism patterns is vital. Here are 11 strategies for cultivating a nurturing environment that allows kids to flourish without the shadows of unrealistic expectations:

1. Self-awareness and Acceptance: First and foremost, recognize and accept your own tendencies towards perfectionism. The first step in breaking the cycle is to be aware of it. Journaling, meditation, or therapy can help you reflect on your behavior and its origins so you start to rewire those habits for the better at a deeper subconscious level.

2. Model healthy self-talk: Be conscious of the language you use when you talk about yourself and your accomplishments. Avoid overly critical self-talk and focus on positive aspects and efforts, rather than solely on outcomes to model healthy self-talk for your children. 3. Normalize Mistakes: We ALL make mistakes in life, big and small. Show your child that making mistakes is a part of learning and growing. Share stories of your own mistakes and the lessons you learned from them. Teach them that perfection isn't the goal, but rather progress and effort. 4. Praise Effort, Not Results: When we always focus on being the best, we can easily get caught in the vicious cycle of “striving” and never “arriving.” Help yourself and your kids enjoy the process along the way of doing their best. Praise your child's hard work, determination, and effort. This reinforces the value of the process over the outcome.

5. Set Realistic Expectations: It’s easy as adults to always raise the bar on yourself to get better results. This also leads to exhaustion and burnout. Imagine what that can do on the mind of a child. It can create a cycle of “Never Enough” thinking on their part that can last a lifetime if not nipped in the bud. As a parent, set achievable and realistic expectations for both yourself and your children. Remember that it's okay not to excel in everything and that having areas of weakness is natural. Help your child focus on personal growth and individual progress.

6. Flexible Mindset: Reminding ourselves to be flexible and seek alternative options and solutions can be empowering and lower anxiety levels. By encouraging adaptability and resilience in children it can help them think more intentionally. Emphasize the importance of being able to adjust to different situations, and not being too rigid or set in one's ways. This can be modeled through your own behavior, such as changing plans when something doesn't work out and not getting overly stressed about it. Encouraging them to see challenges as opportunities to grow.

7. Open Communication: Your kids are always watching, listening, and modeling your behaviors. By cultivating a household where feelings, fears, and anxieties can be openly discussed without judgment, you are teaching your children how to be more empathetic with others. If your child expresses fear of not being good enough, be compassionate and reassure them of their worth beyond achievements.

8. Time for Play: As adults we all know the value of taking time away from work to refresh and recharge our mindsets. The same holds true for your kids and their schoolwork. Ensure there's ample time for unstructured play and leisure. Not everything needs to have a goal or a purpose. This allows children to explore, be creative, and enjoy activities without the pressure of being 'perfect.'

9. Limit Comparisons: Social media has created a platform for endless comparison of self to others. Fueling the internal conversations of not being enough in a thousand different ways. Adults and children alike can easily fall into this comparison trap leading to perfectionism, self-doubt, anxiety, and depression or worse.

Avoid comparing your child to siblings, peers, or even yourself when you were their age. Each of us are on our own journey, that includes our unique strengths, and weaknesses. Celebrate the distinctive qualities and achievements of your children so they feel seen and heard for who they ARE, not who you expect them to be.

10. Self-care and Modeling: The science of epigenetics tells us that habits and survival behaviors can be passed along to our children. By taking care of your mental well-being, addressing your own fears and anxieties that are fueling your perfectionism, you’re modeling good self-care and self-awareness for your children. As your child sees you practicing self-care and self-love, they are more likely to do the same. Conversely, if they see you constantly stressed and striving for perfection, they might internalize those behaviors as well.

11. Seek Professional Help: If your perfectionism is deeply rooted and affecting your well-being or your relationship with your child, consider seeking therapy, coaching, or hypnotherapy. A professional can offer tools and strategies to manage and reduce these tendencies. It can also be beneficial for your child to see that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

By implementing these strategies, parents can cultivate their resilience while creating a nurturing environment where their children feel valued for who they are and not just for their achievements. Inhibiting the development of any toxic perfectionist tendencies.

Unlock your resilience by taming your self-doubt and perfectionism

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Michele Molitor Brainz Magazine

Michele Molitor, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Michele Molitor is a trailblazer in personal transformation. Utilizing her expertise as a coach, hypnotherapist, speaker, and author, her work intentionally addresses the pervasive mental health crisis we face today. As CEO of Nectar Consulting, Inc., a certified B Corporation, her mission is to empower busy professionals to conquer anxiety, self-doubt, and toxic stress, paving the way for fulfilling lives and careers. Dubbed “The Mind Detective” by her clients, Michele’s innovative healing approach masterfully fuses scientific, somatic, and energetic principles for holistic transformation. Her vision is to help create thriving work cultures where emotional well-being is cultivated through acceptance.



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