It doesn’t matter how you decide to raise your kid, some one will judge you for it.
It’s never been easy being a parent but the pressure to be a “certain kind of parent” has never been greater than it is today.
According to a recent study, mothers are the most affected by the pressure to be perfect, and this pressure is linked to how they think others’ judge them.
In other words, most of our perceptions of how we raise our kids are linked to how we believe others’ view our parenting skills. In other words, our fear of judgment frequently drives our parental choices.
The study cited above suggests that most parents consider that parenting should be time-consuming and thus feel “inefficient” because their schedules do not allow them to spend as much time as they would like to (or think they should) with their kids.
Parental stress is real. We stress about whether we’re damaging our kids for life because of what we do or fail to do, and we agonize about whether we’re doing too much or not quite enough. Whether or not we’ve got our “parenting act together” is a common concern.
Parental guilt is never a good thing and it’s rarely justified. It can lead to anxiety and stress and can have a negative impact on how you parent. Parental guilt is also rather common.
Below are a few tips to help deal with parental guilt.
7 ways to deal with parental guilt
1) Putting yourself on your priority list can decrease parental guilt
Many parents believe that parenting is supposed to be time-consuming. It is, but no one wins when we cut back on the time we spend on ourselves in order to spend it on our kids.
Parental guilt has frequently been linked to the false belief that good parents practice “intensive parenting” and are “always there.” The truth is, stressed and anxious parents make lousy parents.
Moreover, there is scientific proof that parental stress has a negative impact on kids and can lead to academic, behavioural and emotional problems. Parents driven by stress and anxiety are also more likely to pass this on to their kids.
When you’re irritable and worked up, you’re unlikely to parent as you normally would. Before you can fully care for others, you need to care for yourself first.
Create a daily ritual to help you find little moments for yourself. Put yourself on your agenda.
2) Know your parenting values to better deal with parental guilt
You are more likely to be swayed by others’ views on parenting if you have no parenting values of your own. Most of our parenting decisions are dictated by cultural, social and historical contexts.
We expect our kid to do things that were expected of us, or to behave in certain pre-defined ways without really questioning the bigger picture. What kind of kid would you like to raise? What values really matter? What are you willing to stand up for?
Be clear about what matters to you, then stand by your beliefs. Remember that the only two people you might have to justify your choice to are yourself and your kid.
3) You are the best judge of your kid and your family context
We live habitually in a state of information overload. Access to information has become much easier but technology has also made life more stressful and complicated.
The thing is, there’s more information than we can cope with. There are always new strategies and opinions on how to do things “better” but those opinions are not always adapted to your particular context. By all means, keep informed, but don’t just try out the latest craze. Do what works for you and your kid.
4) Be okay with the “mean parent” label
If you haven’t been called “mean” or something along those lines, maybe you’re doing something wrong. When you satisfy your kids’ every whim, you have nothing left over.
Kids can’t always get what they want. They need to know that actions have consequences. That’s life!
Fortunately, the “mean” label rarely lasts for long.
5) Be a good enough parent
Perfection is dead. As Leo Tolstoy once said, “If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content”.
Find the right balance between being available for your kids and fostering their independence. Remember that being a good parent is not about spending as much time as possible with your kids.
Research now shows that quality trumps quantity and that exposing kids to constructive boredom may help foster their creative and decision-making skills.
6) Know the difference between being a great parent and raising a great kid
Do you want to be in the “hip parent club” or do you want to raise a great kid? It’s easier to make appropriate parenting choices when we’re conscious of the type of kid we want to raise. Being a great parent or raising a great kid really comes down this: It’s either about you or about your kid.
7) Know when you need professional help if you’re struggling with parental guilt
Sometimes parenting gets messy and takes its toll on our well-being. Sometimes waves of parental guilt engulf us and prevent us from being the parents we would like to be.
If you feel overwhelmed by it all, seeking professional help can help get you back on track. Remember that seeking help simply means that you care enough about you and your family to want to make things right.
Action tips to better deal with parental guilt
- Take a few moments to honestly reflect on what drives your parenting. Does social conformity mold your parenting? Are there things you let your kids do in private but not in public?
- What kind of kid would you like to raise? What parenting values really matter to you?
- Put yourself on your priority list. Cool and relaxed parents make cool and relaxed kids. What have you always wanted to do? Set aside at least 10 minutes a day to do something for yourself.
Science says that these five things increase your chances of maternal exhaustion
What to do when you feel like you are failing as a parent
What to do When Positive Parenting Makes You Feel Like a Bad Parent
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