Being guilt-stricken as a parent is not uncommon. Parental guilt involves feeling like you've failed as a parent. This ultimately shows in your body language and you may even express it verbally, which in turn affects the children. The thing is, most good parents often feel like they have failed in one way or another. The difference comes in what you allow the guilt to do to you since it can be a source of lessons or it can destroy you and ultimately, your family life.
If you’re suffering from parental guilt this is what you should know.
1. It can happen at any time in the life of your child
As you are raising children, you'll realize that there will be moments when you feel like you're not good enough or you’re not providing enough. This guilt can be as a result of comparing your life with that of others. You might begin pulling yourself down because your child might not be performing as well as other kids are in school and you think it is because you haven't bought this book for them or enrolled them in extra tuition classes. Or you start beating yourself up because your child is unable to meet a certain milestone. Remember that feeling this way does not necessarily mean that you are failing at parenting.
2. It can affect your kids
You might start letting your guilt show outwardly by speaking negatively about yourself or being excessively moody to the extent that it affects your family life. You may get so wrapped up in your guilt that you fail to notice your kids’ wins and therefore you don’t praise them. Your children will start picking up on this negative energy, and since children tend to attach their success to their parents’ approval, they'll feel like they are failures too.
3. You can seek therapy for it
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When left unchecked, parental guilt can put a wedge in parent-child relationships. However, with a little help it is possible to get rid of parental guilt. Through counselling you can air your concerns freely and get recommendations on how you can deal with the guilt, appreciate your stage in life and patch things up with your child.
Parenting is a journey filled with ups and downs and as long as you’re doing the best you can and your child is healthy and happy, you should cut yourself some slack.