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Negative effects of perfectionism in the parent-child relationship

Can parents who set exceptionally high expectations for their children and demand perfectionism suffer negative consequences of such approach to upbringing? Research shows that this is indeed the case. An international team of researchers, including psychologists from SWPS University’s Center for Research on Personality Development, Dorota Szczygieł, Ph.D. and Konrad Piotrowski, Ph.D, investigated this matter.

#perfectionism #parental burnout #parent-child relationship

What we researched:

  • The researchers examined whether parents who set very high expectations for their children can also be harming themselves in the process and increasing the chances of parental burnout related to the feelings of disappointment arising from the discrepancy between the reality and the expectations.

How we did it:

  • The study included 325 parents from Poland (of which 78.8% were mothers), living with at least one child, age 3-19, in the same household.

Why is it important:

  • Because parents who feel that their children do not meet parental expectations (which was deemed as the key measurement of perfectionism) are at risk of parental burnout. The study has also shown that emotional intelligence may help to mitigate the negative effects of pursuing perfection.

“The results show that child-oriented perfectionism, specifically its discrepancy dimension—parents' perception that their child is not meeting their standards—puts parents at risk of burnout."