-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- First-time mothers and
fathers have a tougher time adapting to their new roles if they
believe society expects them to be perfect parents, a new study
Researchers looked at 182 couples who became parents between
2008 and 2010, and found that mothers had less confidence in their
parenting abilities and fathers felt more stress when they were
more worried about what others thought of their parenting
But, the study found, self-imposed pressure to be perfect was
somewhat better for parents, especially fathers.
This may be because the fathers in the study were highly
involved in parenting and were motivated by high self-imposed
standards. Or it may be because fathers still don't carry the same
burden for child care as mothers, the researchers said.
"Trying to be the perfect parent is a mixed bag," study author Meghan Lee, a graduate student in human development and family science at Ohio State University, said in a university news release.
"If you think you have to be perfect because of outside pressure, it really hurts adjustment. If you put these demands on yourself, it may have some benefits early on, but it is not universally good," she added.
The study appears online and will be published in a future print
issue of the journal
Personality and Individual Differences.
The parents in the study were assessed three months after their
child was born, so it's possible that the role of perfectionism may
change over time, Lee noted.
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers tips for
parenting your baby.
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