Do you continue to beat yourself up over less-than-stellar parenting skills?
The following is excerpted from an article by Dena Kouremetis entitled, “The Gift that Keeps on Giving: Coping with Parental Guilt” published February 17, 2017 on www.psychologytoday.com. Click here for the full article.
It happens. In fact, if you are a mom, it happens quite regularly: feeling guilt over not being the kind of parent you’d hoped to be, 20/20 hindsight regarding what you could have done differently, and a fear that you may have already inflicted enough damage on your nearly-or-fully-grown child that he or she will be forever frequenting a therapist’s office.
The fact is, most parents have regrets. It’s a matter of not permitting ourselves to be controlled by those regrets, chalking them up to lack of knowledge or maturity, and moving on as we continue to alter our behavior. It's my personal opinion that guilt-ridden parents often make better grandparents because of all they learned (and regretted) along the way. And there is always that element that grandparents get to hand back the grandkids after they've spoiled them mercilessly, so they don't have to deal with the everyday tantrums and prepubescent eye-rolling any more.
Psychology Today contributor Ann Smith lists the top 20 things parents offer regrets about in her article, Are You a Guilty Parent? Among them:
It's easy to see how we beat ourselves up. But you can also take heart in Smith’s reassurances:
“Guilt is an emotion, not a reality or a life sentence. Guilt arises when we become aware of failing to be the best we could have been for our children. It comes and goes and can be mild or debilitating. Guilt tries to tell us something is wrong and needs to be corrected. If it isn't faced it will turn into shame, a feeling of worthlessness and a negative sense of self.”
Showing regret for past behaviors can often be a process, and while simply changing those behaviors might be enough to show those we love what is in our hearts, Pickhardt offers the following steps to deal with this “damage” we believe we inflicted on our kids. Keep in mind, some of us may have to do this repeatedly to assuage the guilt we feel and for some, it might feel as if we are offering this up too late. Personally, however, I feel it’s never too late to say what you feel:
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