It is real and it is really powerful. So where does this come from and what can we do to manage it?
Instincts and biology tell us that all feelings are important and have something very important to tell us, including anxiety and guilt. Feelings of guilt are natural, and come from a sense that we have done something wrong by a loved one, or by our own standards. When feelings of anxiety or guilt become too powerful and intrusive this can lead parents to feel inadequate and lead to harshly judging themselves.
In one sense it is only natural for a parent to worry about their children; however, it is easy for that worry to then slip into having undue concerns about things that are outside of our control or feel pressured to parent in a certain way. When there is such a high media presence it is hard not to feel guilty at times, particularly if parents start to compare themselves to others.
If you have noticed that you have feelings of guilt related to your parenting here are some ideas to help you work through these feelings.
1. Keep perspective for yourself and your child
Parenting is more of a role where you learn on the job, and with each developmental stage there is a new steep learning curve. While it may not be helpful to compare yourself to others, comparing your child to other children may not be helpful either.
2. Setting your own family standards
Remember what you are your partner believe is the right choice for your family and your families circumstance.
3. There is never just one right way forward
During difficult times it can be helpful to talk to trusted loved ones and professionals to share your concerns and to receive guidance from. Don’t forget thought, that there is never just “one way or the right way” forward, rather parents can only make the best choice in the moment with the information available.
4. Stop comparing yourself to everyone around you (especially social media parents)
Don’t forget that life is carefully curated online, no one is ever perfect or has the perfect day of parenting. As your children grow it will be an important learning opportunity for their emotional development and their resilience that you too have challenging emotional moments too and you can share your coping skills with them too.
5. Show yourself a little self-compassion
All parents feel guilty at times and this is mainly because they love and care for their children. Finding that balance between keep their parenting guilt and self-compassion in balance may take continual work but is an important aspect of managing these feelings.
If you are interested in discussing any of the points further or would like to hear about a particular topic, we would be more than happy to hear from you. Feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will answer any questions you may have.