You don’t have to be perfect, but kids don’t want to follow the leadership of a hypocrite either. The parent who tries to come across as perfect is making a big mistake. Believe it or not, apologies improve communication. Let your children know you’re human. Admit your mistakes and take the perfection pressure off. Admitting your mistakes clears the channels for real communication and removes barriers that may be in the making. Admitting mistakes promotes sharing and oftentimes creates warmth and understanding.
Admitting failures also curbs unrestrained idealism. What I mean is that if your children go too long observing unreal parents who act as if they have no problems or flaws, the eventual shock of watching parents fail can end up being destructive. When you are honest about your imperfections with your children, you open up the way for a more mature type of problem solving. If your kids feel valued enough that you would share a struggle or a hurt, they will most often respond maturely. One caution is not to get in the habit of dumping all your problems or marriage issues on your children. They are your kids, not your counselors.