pəˈsiːv/ - interpret or regard (someone or something) in a particular way.
bɪˈliːv/ - hold (something) as an opinion; think.
For me, one ultimate parenting cock-up stems from doing what you perceive to be right rather than what you believe to be right. There's a difference. Worrying about how your urchin/you/your family/your parenting(blah blah)is perceived by others or how it compares with how others are perceived is futile yet we almost all do it all the time. It is how we check that we are 'getting it right' by subconsciously cross-referencing with all manner of people we come by day to day. Lets face it - this parenting lark is a massive responsibility and little humans can be volatile and unpredictable so we automatically (consciously or subconsciously) compare to make sure we aren't royally messing up. But here's the thing, by comparing, we more often than not find ourselves wading through a quagmire of unnecessary self-doubt and with a confused and petulant ankle biter to fit.
I got it wrong last weekend. In the grand scheme of world peace it wasn't a nuclear disaster but in my tiny 1st world family utopia, I screwed right up.
Dear old Henry eats all manner of fruit but I have pretty much always accepted (since a particularly explosive blueberry bowel c. 2014/5) he doesn't 'do' berries. So quite why I took pudding of choice: Eton Mess to a friends house is beyond me. The simple thought process; is it easy? tick. Is it delicious? tick. Does it nod to being slightly healthy? tick. It was not until our hosts (who are totally non-judgemental I hasten to add) came to dish out this creamy berry-ridden heap that I suddenly realised I had dealt the poor wee chap a shocker. Realistically of course it needn't have been. Any NORMAL person unconcerned with how they might be perceived would have politely declined or accepted Henrys decline and palmed it off as just a 'kid thing'. No no, not ME.
Everyone else was taking the pudding in all its berry sumptuousness and shovelling it down their polite little faces so now, yes NOW in someone else's house at a perfectly serene table, would be the time to inform Henry that (despite the preceding 2 years of taking an apple in lieu of anything remotely red/pink/blue) he should fall in line and munch away at the Eton Mess. Cue 5 minutes of stubborn negotiation and the resentful mastication of a raspberry with much pained wincing. That my friends, that is when I should have stopped, proud with this achievement. But NO, no he must finish his plate. Everyone must see how good my children are at eating EVERYTHING and how calm and in control I am. Everyone must watch, sat together for a further 5 minutes as my control slowly slunk off the table and ran out the house with the crescendo of wails, as the boy (who honestly rarely properly melts down) raged into his berry blancmange
'i doooooonnntttttttt liiiiiikkkkkkeeeeeee iiiiiiiiittttttt'
'pleeaseeeaseee I dooonnnntttt liiikkkkeeeee iiiitttttt' repeat x 8
'oh its just a berry, don't be silly'
head banging the table, eyes rolling to the back of the skull, heavy guttural sobbing creating rivers in the wilted meringue peeping out between those shiny red berries. It was horrific and finally after daddy quietly suggested for the second time that I let the poor wee chap down because he had after all eaten all his roast (and frankly I had ruined a jovial atmosphere), I had a moment of clarity and walked the boy to the garden where he clung to me like a limpet no doubt completely and utterly confused and scarred for life.
People, don't be a twit like me that day - it just confuses the poor mites. Yes a little cross-reference-parenting can be constructive, it can also be shambolic. Stick to your guns, don't change things to fit into what you perceive to be right, do what you know and BELIEVE to be right.