Do all parents feel guilty sometimes? Yeah, I’m pretty sure they do. You’re basically always fucking up in one way or another. If you don’t already think so, someone else is bound to point it out.
I’m pretty judgy about parents myself, because it’s important to stick up for kids and make sure we parents are doing the best job we can for them.
But I also want to help you FEEL better about your parenting, because guilt feels like shit, and when you feel like shit you’re not the best parent.
It’s possible to parent in a way that is open and carefree and full of joy! And your kids are going to LOVE your life together once you capture that feeling! They’ll want to be right there with you experiencing happiness and delight.
Guilt is one of the big obstacles to all that joy.
Where does guilt come from?
Guilt comes from doubt.
You get parenting advice from a million sources – your own parents, your friends, blogs, Facebook groups, politicians, magazines. You can’t make EVERYONE happy. You can’t possibly follow ALL the rules since half of them contradict the other half.
So you experience doubt. Are you doing the right thing? Are you doing the wrong thing? Are you too this? Too that? Not enough that?
If you listen to all those sources, you will ALWAYS be fucking up since there’s no way to make your actions fit all the opinions.
That means the solution to parenting guilt is to clear out those sources. You need to KNOW your priorities and get clear on who you’re listening to and who you’re not.
I’m not going to give you a list of experts, magazines, and books to read and listen to, because that would just add to the noise.
I’m going to give you a list of 2 people, and once you put your focus on those two people, everything will be clearer.
#1 – Your Child
Your connection with your child is the most important part of your parenting. Once you put your focus there, you can forget the rest of the nonsense.
Ask yourself: Is my child happy? Are they having a good time? Do we have a good relationship? Are we a team? Do they trust me? Are we in sync? Does their life look like how they want it to look? Are they comfortable in their life? Are they meeting their goals?
These kinds of questions are your #1 signposts for going the right direction.
When you get connected to your kid… when you can FEEL that your connection is strong… that guilt starts to melt away.
#2 – YOU
You are the only one who knows yourself and your values.
When you’re feeling guilty about your parenting choices, take the time to check in with yourself. Are you following your own compass or has someone else steered you off course?
I sometimes catch myself feeling guilty because my son has a stubborn mind of his own. I think to myself, “I haven’t given him enough structure; I haven’t taught him how to follow instructions; I haven’t taught him how to respect authority…” And then I have to laugh at myself, because I don’t respect authority! I would never want to teach my child that! There’s no reason to feel guilty for not achieving goals I don’t have!
When you take the time to connect with your own personal values, it’s harder for guilt to take hold.
The Guilt Ending Process
You may currently feel a lot of guilt. That’s okay. You’re going to work on letting it go, one moment at a time. It’ll take some practice, so be gentle with yourself along the way!
Here’s what to do:
- Notice and name. Notice that you’re feeling guilty. Say to yourself (out loud if possible) “I’m feeling guilty.” You can take it one step further if you like and name the source of the pressure that’s causing the guilt. “I’m feeling guilty because my mom thinks I should be stricter, and I’m not living up to that.”
- Focus on your child and yourself. Is your child happy? Are you honoring your own values? Say it out loud if you can. “My child thrives when I’m gentle with them. We have a great relationship. Being strict is not one of my values. I value letting my kid be themselves.”
Now repeat until it becomes a habit.
It’s simple, but I know it’s not easy. You can do it! The more often you do it the less guilt will be a factor in your life. With the guilt gone, there’s more room for all that happiness, joy, and fun stuff.
You. Your kid. That’s it.
(Well, I won’t mind if you keep listening to me, too!)
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