Parents aren’t perfect

April 27, 2010

Your parents aren’t always right.

They are not flawless. They’re not always virtuous. They won’t always be there when you need them.

They lie.

They err.

They fight.

They sometimes set bad examples.

They are unreasonable.

They are demanding.

They are needy.

A lot of times they’re simply selfish.

At all times — they’re human.

And we have to recognize them as such.

Like all children, I put my parents on a pedestal for the longest time.

Until I became a teenager.

I remember analyzing them a bit more critically. Calling them out on their “wrongdoings.” Not taking their word for everything.

Respecting them, but not worshiping them.

I was jaded, you might say.

But I also recognized early on that they were just trying to do their best.

Juggling their jobs, their relationship, their aspirations, their ambitions, and their only child.

Parenting is no easy task.

I’m observing my friends struggle every day.

Since most of them have toddlers, the biggest thing right now is making sure they mind their language in front of their kids. No saying “shit” or “crap” or “damn.”

They will repeat everything.

As the kids grow, the parents — my friends — will start minding other things. Behaviors, habits, beliefs.

But just as I don’t acknowledge them, or myself, as perfect, in time their kids won’t either.

It’s hard when the myth shatters.

I remember the time I started seeing my parents as just two individuals with all their follies.

It hurt.

Why couldn’t they be perfect?

And why did I have to feel like an ingrate for thinking of them such?

They had so many expectations of me.

But I had even more. Of them.

I resented them for being who they were — thinking I was part of a dysfunctional family.

Why did this have to happen to me?

Until, years, later I realized that all of us are part of dysfunctional families. There is nothing like a functional family.

All families are comprised of people — and people aren’t perfect.

The disappointment faded away.

I started empathizing with them — as an adult. A flawed, imperfect, human being.

They were just like me.

Like the rest of the world, I used to see them in myself — the eyes, the hair, the nose, the jawline.

Now I started seeing me in them.

It’s been easier since. I relate with them on a completely different level now.

In their head, I will always be their six-year-old.

And they will always be my parents, telling me to not do this, to do that better, worrying about me, encouraging me, brimming with pride at my smallest accomplishments.

Some things will never change.

But some things have.

I don’t dwell anymore. Neither do I expect the world of them.

I listen more.

And try to rationally understand.

I see them objectively for who they are.

I am able to say “it’s ok.”

They are my parents. But they’re also adults figuring their way about life.

Just like the rest of us.

16081BD1A60533E0F1173D28DE4F0D3F Parents arent perfect

Also posted on Writers Rising.

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8 Responses to Parents aren’t perfect

  1. Susan DeborahNo Gravatar on April 27, 2010 at 5:17 am

    Ah! Mansi:

    This is quite true. I guess coming from India it is more often assumed that parents are the be-all and end-all of everything. Our cultural setup is so that sometimes it all gets quite stifling. And there is also the archetype of parents always knowing everything.

    I liked this post for the honest portrayal of human follies and foibles.

    Take care Mansi :)

    Joy always,

  2. Claudia TerceroNo Gravatar on April 27, 2010 at 8:45 am

    I loved it! I too was worrying about what I said with my son but came a time where he learned some of his own words from school. I sat him down and told him that what I said or he heard from adults was not allowed for him to repeat. Another time I told him something he didnt want to hear, so he said "I dont like you mommy" once again I wanted to laugh but I looked at him and said, "look Im gonna tell you lots of things you dont want to hear, shoot ama (what he calls my mom) tells me things i dont want to hear and sometimes I get mad, but she tells me things becuase she loves me." At 4 I dont know how much he understands but he never said it again. I dont want to have that disappointment so Im setting him to see me as a teacher that has learned from experience, not a perfect one either. Our cultures make us worship parents in a way that make them seem almost perfect. Parents are never wrong, so they say. Being a parent is such an interesting journey your learning and teaching…

    • SolyaNo Gravatar on September 10, 2010 at 10:47 pm

      Don’t you think you should lead by example? We as parents have that obligation to do so. You can’t say words and have actions that are not appropriate, when you have a child looking up to you. Which is why it’s always said “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. I just feel as a mother, you are setting yourself up if you have the mind frame “do as I say and not as I do”. It’s not being a positive role model or teacher. In fact it’s teaching a child to be a hypocrite, in my humble opinion.

  3. Lazy PineappleNo Gravatar on April 27, 2010 at 9:30 am

    oh you said it….I used be like you..thinking that parents can do no wrong.
    We slowly mature and learn that they are human and we have to accept them as they are.

  4. GlenNo Gravatar on April 27, 2010 at 10:25 am

    So very true, my own kids are learning all too soon that I am no hero. I love how you have this site set out :-)

  5. lenaNo Gravatar on April 28, 2010 at 10:41 am

    We all make mistakes, it is not like they are aliens and can be different from other humans. I guess it is really tough to be a parent, but in a way it makes you a better person, a little bit closer to perfection.

    I know they are trying and I know they want the best for me. Just sometimes their “best” and my “best” are so different. We all are human after all.

    It is good when it is possible to have a constructive dialogue and figure things out. And the best thing is when parents realize themselves that they are not perfect and are ready to compromises.

  6. MansiNo Gravatar on April 28, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Thank you, all, for your comments. It’s a hard realization to come to, especially in a culture that advocates placing parents on the same pedestal as God. Parents try so hard to be perfect, too — not realizing that they can’t control everything. I guess it takes a while for both parents and children to realize that we’re all susceptible to mistakes … and embrace that.

  7. […] tools they’ll need to enjoy life and make the most of it. I encourage you to read the post Parents aren’t Perfect — it’ll allow you to say, “it’s ok to be […]


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