I'm going through some struggles at the moment with my nine year old son related to his school homework. Leaving aside what the expectations are of his teacher, my son doesn't do his work in the way in which I think it should be done. After a particularly irritating exchange of words with him regarding what was completed yesterday, I was so upset, I had to take myself away from him to prevent myself saying something I would regret.
I am not proud of this. After some soul searching later, I realised that I expect of my son what I believe I would have done when I was a child. I had to seriously ask myself, "Would I really have done it so perfectly? Or would I have done something similar to what he did?"
I raise my hand, I admit it. I expect perfection out of everyone - myself first and foremost. I am well aware this is in part due to how I was treated as a child with the "perfection" expected from me by my parents. At least it seems so still to my Inner Child.
I now see, however, that perfection is one big ego trip. I expect perfection out of people, but it is perfection according to what I perceive is perfect. My ego assumes that I know what is perfect. This is the folly of it all because what I perceive to be the perfect way to do things, in no way means that it is indeed the perfect way. It is only in my mind (my own bruised ego) that I envision it to be so because of my own set of standards governed by my experiences, culture, education, upbringing and the plethora of other things in my life that has made me who I am.
Ideas of perfection vary from one person to another, across cultures, age groups, sexes, etc. Our idea of perfection changes as we change. It's not a fixed perception. Have I become less or more of a perfectionist as time has passed? Having a child seems to have upped the anti and I feel I have become more of a perfectionist that I was before. It's as if my Inner Child kicked in with its bruised feelings and now wants revenge on everyone for what she endured. "I didn't get treated kindly for what I tried to do, so let's make sure that little boy gets the same!"
Quite a shocking insight for me to know how much healing is needed for my Inner Child. This follows on to other understandings I came to a few days ago about the humiliation I felt as a child at the hands of my mother and teachers - adults who I thought I was safe with and could trust. Frankly, my Inner Child is still pretty pissed off, resentful, upset and afraid to step out of the safety of her shadow.
I'm working on that though with trying to break the cycle through how I deal with my own child.
My son's idea of perfection is still very simple. He tried to do the task, and even if he didn't do it properly, he at least did something. I know this will not always be enough as he gets older and school and life become filled with more challenges. But for now, I need to pay attention to the fact that he needs praise for what he tries to do and to not humiliate him in any way, making him feel imperfect.
I must try somehow to reach through to my own hurting Inner Child. When she came out once a few weeks ago unbidden in an NSA (Network Spinal Analysis) session, she shifted the energy in my spine and body in a positive way and tension was released. All she did was take my hand. And then, she retreated. Perhaps she feels there is a possibility she could be safe and loved again?
I am certain that healing my Inner Child will improve my relationship with my son... and hopefully many other thing will fall into place as well.