Parents: We Need to Stop Projecting onto Our Kids


The “mini me” complex. We are all guilty of it at some point. We become parents, and a minute later we are projecting all over the nursery.

“My poor child has the same fat legs as I did.”

“My child is as stubborn as I was.”

“My child will love golf because I do.”

“My child must be popular because I wasn’t.”

I am a self-proclaimed wearer of rose colored glasses, at least when it comes to my son. We share the same calm, friendly, empathetic personality. He is the best, obviously! He’s that kid who says sorry when he bumps into the wall and blows kisses to old ladies in elevators.

My husband does not share my views. He is genuinely concerned my son will be bullied for these same personality traits. I can tell he already feels bad for him. We’ve spent more time than necessary discussing this topic, which essentially is a figment of both our imaginations.

Will he get bullied? Maybe.

Will it be for any of the reasons my husband thinks? Maybe.

Will it be because he has curly, frizzy hair? Maybe.

As parents, we either expect that our kids will have the same interests and talents as we do or we project our own shortcomings onto our kids instead of facing them ourselves. It is true that children inherit a combination of traits from their parents, but kids are unique, separate individuals. The earlier we recognize and understand this, the easier it will be to accept our kid for who they really are.

Let’s make a parenting pact to stop putting our adult stuff onto our kids; they have enough to worry about without us making it more complicated. Parenting pact: Stop with the “mini me” nonsense. Worry about the “mini you.”

  • Stop projecting your ideals
  • Stop projecting your fears
  • Stop living through your kids
  • Stop taking your anxiety out on your kids
  • Stop focusing on your kid’s weaknesses
  • Stop owning your kid’s successes
  • Stop getting mad at your kid for acting like a kid
  • Stop forcing kids to share
  • Stop controlling their experiences
  • Stop telling kids how to feel
  • Stop fixing your kid’s problems
  • Stop treating your kid like a victim
  • Stop getting mad when your kid behaves exactly like you do

Being a good enough parent means letting your kid figure out who they are. Being a great parent means allowing yourself to learn from your “mini me.”


About Jill Ceder

Jill Ceder is a toddler mom, psychotherapist and writer. She spends her time helping people figure how to being a “good enough” parent while still figuring this out herself. She also writes on parenting topics as the ChildCare expert and a 30 Second Mom contributor. She can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.