Struggling with Parental Guilt?

No one enjoys feeling guilty. At one time or another, all parents will experience guilty feelings that they are not being the best parent they can be. Whether you lose your cool now and then, are not able to spend enough time with your child, can’t give your child things other children are freely and easily given, guilty feelings are normal. It can become a problem though, when not handled in a healthy manner – It’s important to show yourself grace as a parent and understand that you’re human. Everyone makes mistakes and being a parent is no different. Don’t be so hard on yourself. We can all experience moments of being impatient and “losing our cool” and while it’s important to not struggle with this on a regular basis, it can and does happen to the best of us. Children don’t always listen and after telling your child not to do this or that several times, it can become infuriating when he or she doesn’t listen. Remember to take several deep breaths and then calmly and firmly, state it again. If your child still doesn’t listen, a “timeout/Stop & Think” may be in order. Remember to not extend a timeout for too long or your child may forget the lesson of why they are in timeout. At JFH, we recommend one minute per age level beginning at fifteen months as a guide.  Also, make sure you are setting realistic expectations of your child and their age. Younger children need to learn appropriate behavior and you must show him or her how to behave in a healthy way.

Some parents unfortunately can’t spend as much time with their children as they’d like to. Work can pull parents away from their children so it’s important to utilize the time correctly when you do have time with your child. We suggest limiting television, computer, and video game time when you do have time to spend together and find healthy, fun, and engaging activities to do together. This can include crafting, playing outside, going to the library and reading books, playing with toys, etc. Don’t feel guilty about setting some time aside for just you or you and your spouse as well. We all need to be restored so taking some time apart from your child will truly make you a better parent.

Many parents feel they are not being the best parents possible if they can’t give their child a lot of things – material things like toys, certain clothes, or lots of vacations. Children’s love and happiness can’t be bought with things – you will have a better relationship with your child if you focus on building memories as opposed to building a toy collection. At JFH, we believe in building relationships and quality time together – memories that will last a lifetime and be passed down to future generations.

Don’t beat yourself up for not being a “perfect parent.” No parent is perfect. We are all flawed and being able to admit that to your child will help him or her in life as well. It’s expected that we’ll all make mistakes – it is how we recover from mistakes that defines our true character. Being less hard on yourself will also free you from feeling resentment toward your child – being vulnerable and honest with them about not always being right will deepen your relationship with your child. What a beautiful gift!