Demanding perfection of your child or showing emotional neglect. Do you do either?

This piece was written and emailed to the writer’s mother who then forwarded it to me. She meant it as tongue and cheek, but there are probably some who would take it seriously.  

There are so many ads everywhere for cosmetic surgery: subway, internet, TV, and radio, etc.  It’s all quick too, so they say.  So I had to write this.  Forgive me. 
Future Care:

From the moment of conception your baby has a right to be beautiful.   But nature doesn’t always achieve the high standards of beauty that we have come to expect.  Future Care offers several innovative services to make your baby as beautiful as he or she can possibly be.   

From their pre-birth months and beyond we offer cosmetic enhancement choices such as sonogram embellishments, skin color optimization, eyelash lengthening, and weight addition, as well as other options, that give baby an overall fetching appearance.    

Sometimes it’s just a matter of adding special touches to the sonogram, baby’s first likeness.  The sonogram should be a beguiling image that family and loved ones treasure for generations.  We often wonder at our child’s first likeness, could or should there be more?  With our sonogram embellishments, baby sucking their thumb for their special moment no longer must be left to chance.    

Everyone wants the delivery to be special.  Our prenatal beauty team will help you give baby those rosy cheeks, bright eyes, and pouty lips just in time for their delivery date.  

From their image in print, to their image in person, Future Care’s cosmetic plans turn dreams into reality and make your baby’s first moments picture perfect.  Future Care offers several plans designed to fit any desire and every budget, every moment of the way.  Future Care is making the future beautiful, one child at a time.   It reminded me of the blog I wrote a few weeks ago on child beauty pageants.  Why do some parents demand physical, intellectual, musical, or athletic perfection of their offspring? What are the consequences to the children? Which is worse demanding perfection, or like my case, demanding nothing and maintaining an atmosphere of totally ignoring the child? 

 One site says this:  

 Demanding perfection and showing your dissatisfaction can cause your child to give up or rebel. 


 It is possible that our desire for our children to develop good qualities can turn into a bad issue for us and our children down the line.  Especially when that desire turns into a demand. 

The heart of a child is pliable, and as parents, we have the ability to mold that heart towards fear or towards freedom.  If our demands for good order and discipline overrule our ability to show our children genuine love, then we have crossed a line that must be corrected. 

Again:Reinforce effort and skills, not winning. Children will learn that your “love” (e.g., positive words, hugs, treats) are dependent on the outcome of which they have no control. Reinforcing the process of effort and skill execution regardless of the outcome helps your child achieve more. 



 Experienced educators likely have seen all forms of child abuse at one time or another. They are alert to signs like these that may signal the presence of child abuse. ( They weren’t in my case back in the 50s. Too many kids.)

 Yes, demanding perfection can be as much child abuse as emotionally neglecting the child. 

What drives parents to seek a path where their children are perfect? Will it get to the point they will start with the womb? What drives a parent to emotionally neglect their child? Do they not see their child as worthy of their attention? Parents at both ends of the spectrum end up with teenagers or young adult children who rebel. They shut the parents out of their emotional lives completely. They turn to drugs, or food, or sex to satisfy deeper longings. 

 I can tell you exactly the first two times  I began acting out my frustration with the cold, cold family atmosphere in which I was reared. The first time was when I tried to commit suicide my senior year in high school. I wanted to be as successful as my sister to whom I was constantly compared with the result of feeling not good enough.  I wanted to be good enough to be recognized. It didn’t matter how much I tried to achieve. Lack of recogniton was deadly.  Fortunately, I came to my senses in time before I did permanent, fatal damages. 

 The second time was when I returned to campus after Christmas break my freshman year in college. I felt so much anger bottled up inside of me towards my family. I can no longer tell anyone why. That is long forgotten. I just remember the emotion. In my mind the quickest way to bring retaliation was to get pregnant. Thank God my intentions didn’t materialize into a baby. I wanted to humiliate my father as he had done me many times. My first encounter was not out of love. For the next nine years I searched for love in all the wrong places. The pattern had been set, even though my father died three years after that first encounter. I continued to rebel and dang the consequences. 

Being asked to be perfect or being totally emotionally neglected are two sides of the same coin. It does not make for a happy child. It makes for a child who at some point says “enough is enough is enough!” We would all be better off if we would encourage our children to seek their own path and to help them walk it without walking it for them (seen in parents who do the child’s school work for them). Or to do everything to tell them they need to be perfect (fake hair, fake tans, fake teeth, fake eyelashes in baby and pre-teen beauty pageants) vs. making kids practice throwing or kicking balls for hours and yelling from the sidelines.

If I were a counselor my best advice would be to tell the parents to let the child be a child, show her or him love, and accept them as they are. What would you do? What was done to you? How did you handle it? Were you lucky when you chose your parents? I’d just like to know. Namaste. Attic Annie



Filed under Casual conversation, childhood, diary, family, general topics, life, Uncategorized

3 responses to “Demanding perfection of your child or showing emotional neglect. Do you do either?

  1. Great Web site! I was wondering if I would be able quote a portion of your pages and use a handful of items for a school assignment. Please let me know through email if its ok or not. Thanks

  2. atticannie

    Having siblings only helps if one is sociable with one’s sister. I’m not getting notified of all your comments for some reason. Sometimes I just stumble upon them. Please forgive if I don’t reply to all.

  3. This sort of thing shows up in children’s “beauty contests” (you wrote about that a while back).

    Like everybody else, I’m probably un-typical. My parents died when I was young – first my mother, then later, when I was 20 or so, my father. (Because my father was a career Army man, they’re both buried in Arlington. I was there for his funeral.)

    Growing up with an Army dad – this in the 40s and 50s – meant that he was away most of the time, and my mother went with him. I lived with my grandparents a long time. Mostly, I remember being alone a lot. If I work at it, I can remember times with mom and dad – vacations, mostly.

    I think it had an effect on my life – I’d been asocial (not anti-), made few friends, never thought that was a bad thing.

    I think there’s another factor that could be considered: only child vs brothers & sisters. I’d guess that having siblings would help make one sociable. (Another study would go into first child vs later ones.)

    There’s a lot of pages that could be written about this topic.