Pushing Your Kids To Be Perfect Is Child Abuse
I’ve been watching Bravo’s Extreme Guide To Parenting because in my house train wreck plus reality TV equals relaxation. I’m seriously beginning to doubt my decision to do so. Last night’s episode, about a mother who is still so scarred by her parents’ divorce that she takes out all of her issues on her four-year-old made me want to set my television on fire.
Last night’s episode was all about “push-parenting.” Marisa Silver-EisenbergÂ is a Long Island mother who pushes her 4-year-old son Austin to perfection constantly – even depriving him of food until he jumps through whatever performance hoop she deems necessary. She’s seen berating him about his penmanship, saying “You know what. I don’t think you did good. Sorry sir. No breakfast. Do it again.” She seriously won’t let the hungry kid eat until he writes his last name over and over again.
In one particularly disturbing scene, Austin is scared of the thought of getting into the pool at his summer camp without a floatation vest. When he looks on the verge of tears, his mother reprimands him, saying, “I don’t like him to show weakness.” Other scenes show her pushing him to work out with her at the gym, constantly telling him he needs to be “the best” and bragging about how he is going to be president some day. She even quizzes him about political figures as soon as he opens his eyes in the morning.
Midway through the show we see where her issues come from – her parents divorced when she was young and she feels like her and her brother did not get enough attention. She feels that if she were pushed a little harder, she would be so much better off. She already owns two businesses, but claims if she was “pushed” she would own four. Here she breaks down in tears, talking about her trauma around her parents’ divorce. I guess we are supposed to feel sorry for her. I don’t.
Pretty much everyone I know is a child of divorce. I’m not saying it’s not a traumatic situation, I’m just saying this woman is in her late thirties and needs to get over it. Get some therapy. Work on yourself. Don’t have children to right the issues in your own life. That’s unfair and abusive.
Our children don’t come into the world to validate our existence. They are their own beings – and they need to find their own paths. Whenever I see a parent like Marisa relentlessly pushing her child because of her own demons – I’m disgusted. Not to mention the fact that “perfection” is bullshit. Perfection is the little voice in your head that says “I’m not good enough.” The only thing this mom is doing is making this voice scream loudly in the head of her child. She resents her parents for not pushing her enough and in turn is raising a child who will probably resent the hell out of her for pushing him too much.