Therapists Share Advice on How to Properly Handle Parental Guilt

Parents in therapyParenthood isn’t easy and it’s become an even more complex and involved practice than it ever was in the past. With greater expectations and the desire to keep children not only fed, clothed, and educated but also raised with a focus on emotional and mental health, parents can easily begin feeling guilt when their idea of what type of parent they want to be doesn’t fully match the reality. Navit Schechter, a qualified therapist, shared a few tips on dealing with such feelings:

Mother feeling guilt
Guilt Over Things a Parent Can’t Control

Many parents will blame themselves for various things that they can’t control such as their child experiencing bullying, health problems, or having a falling out with their friends. Thinking “this was my fault” isn’t productive. Instead, parents should focus on helping their children cope with the situation and their feelings. This will help the child learn how to deal with adversity.

guilt tripping parent
Unrealistic Standards

Everyone wants to be a super-parent that’s never too tired to play with their kids, never too busy to spend time with them, and always able to provide them with everything they need. Holding oneself to unrealistic standards that are impossible to maintain will certainly lead to feelings of guilt. It’s right to want what’s best for one’s children but it’s also necessary to be flexible with the expectations we put on ourselves.

Multi tasking super mother
Focusing on Shortcomings

Parents often fall into the trap of judging themselves in all or nothing terms. They begin fixating on the mistakes they’ve made or the limitations they have rather than looking at everything they’ve done right so far. The key is to achieve balance by keeping in mind what our limitations are and considering our strengths and what we’re doing well at the same time.

Frustrated mom in bed with baby
Neglecting Personal Needs

In the desire to always put the child’s needs first, parents begin to neglect their own wellbeing and lose the pursuit of having a personally rich and fulfilling life. Having to return to work or take some personal time to recharge often leads to feelings of guilt. Taking the time to do what makes you happy will give you the energy to be a better parent. Self-care is a crucial part of proper parenting.

break time analogue clock
Measuring Success by Other Parents’ Experience

When feeling overwhelmed and insecure about one’s parenting abilities, many begin looking at what other parents are doing and how they’re coping. However, it’s important to note that many difficulties of parenthood aren’t always openly talked about. Connect with parents that can be open about their parenting experiences and continue building a connection with your child.Parents Discussion