Hello, my name is John and I am guilty of having parenting guilt.
Wow! I already feel much better. Overall, I think I do a good job as a father, but then there are those moments when I do something or say something that is selfish and I doubt myself. What makes me feel worse is that I try to teach my kids not to be selfish, to think of others, to share.
Before going much further let’s discuss the difference between guilt parenting and parenting guilt. They sound the same, but they are very different.
Guilt Parenting: Trying to make a child feel guilty about their bad behavior. An example is telling your child you are ashamed of their recent behavior. Too much guilt parenting can have lasting negative implications for your child.
Parenting Guilt: Feeling guilty about not being a good parent. Need an example: see below for all my personal experiences of parenting guilt.
Here is a list of every time I felt guilty as a parent. I am sure there is more, but I must have suppressed them.
- Putting the kids to bed early so I can binge watch some television.
- Eating a piece of their candy.
- Saving the last piece of cake or cookie for myself.
- Giving in to their demands.
- Throwing away artwork they made especially for me.
- Forgetting to do something my child asks me to do.
- The whole thing with Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.
- Not being home more.
- Going on date nights without them.
Overcome Your Parenting Guilt
As soon as we realize our mistake, we should pray. During prayer, we need to ask for forgiveness, strength, and wisdom.
Look at the big picture when you feel guilty. Decide, is it really worth getting upset about. If it is not a big problem then find something else to occupy your mind. However, if you feel it is a problem then talk to your child. Let them know you made a mistake.
Find outlets where you can safely share your guilt. Talk to your spouse or other parents. You are not alone in your parenting guilt. Sometimes laughing at your own shortcomings is helpful. You can also try writing down your thoughts and then throw it away.
No parent is perfect, no person is perfect. We all are guilty. It is how we respond that defines us. When it becomes a pattern then, it is a problem.
If I can offer some advice- Don’t be too hard on yourself. Parenting is difficult enough without making ourselves feel guilty, too.
Have you ever suffered from moments of parenting guilt? Share your guilt below, go ahead it might make you feel better!