According to a study conducted by a group of psychologists from Singapore, kids coming from families with parents obsessed with perfectionism are at a higher risk of becoming anxious about not being good enough in their adulthood.
Parents who set high standards for their kids unknowingly boost their children’s risk of anxiety and depression later on, researchers said.
The study involved about 260 seven-year-old kids and their mothers who were monitored for five years, between 2010 and 2014. Scientists picked mothers over the fathers because moms were the parent the kids were most familiar with in 90 percent of cases.
The research team at the National University Singapore planned to see whether the harmful type of perfectionism, also known as maladaptive perfectionism in the medical literature, of a parent had any impact on children’s psyche later in life.
Maladaptive perfectionism has reached an epidemic status in Singapore plaguing many of primary school students. The country just like its Asian counterparts is very focused on high achievement on academic ground.
As a result, parents often have unrealistic expectations of their kids regardless of whether those kids can objectively live up to them. Some children are even punished for small mistakes while constantly being driven to achieve good grades.
The recent findings are in line with past research which had found that pushy parents may be behind the low-esteem and behavioral problems of their kids. Some research papers even found that perfectionist parents with a tendency to overcontrol their kids may paradoxically push their offspring into being poor achievers at school.
Prof. Ryan Hong, lead author of the study, explained that children living in families with intrusive parents are more fearful than other kids because they constantly blame themselves and live with a feeling of guilt for not being “perfect.”
Prof. Hong cautioned that this style of parenting may have horrendous consequences on children. If kids are too sensitive or there is a bad context, their risk of committing suicide may also skyrocket.
Perfectionist parents often argue that they set so high standards for their children’s sake. But past research had suggested that they need to do some sincere soul searching and see whether the pressure they put on their children is not an indirect way of solving their own inferiority complexes.
The study was published in the Journal of Personality.
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