Are you feeling guilty in how you are raising your children, or do others try and make you feel guilty.

There are two types of guilt ‘useful’ and ‘useless’ guilt.

I don’t think most of us parents realise there is such a thing as useless guilt and so we tend to carry a guilt that is not ours to carry.

If your child is making bad choices and you are thinking you should have been able to prevent it, this guilt is a burden you should not be carrying.

If your child decides they are going to steal something and you have always been a good example, you need to understand that they have made an individual choice that has nothing to do with your parenting. This is called free will.

You have to set consequences and stick to them and if you have done that and it didn’t deter them, that is not your fault. You can make a choice at this point as to whether or not you want to make the consequences more severe and truthfully, that might work. It will depend on the child.

I personally would try one or two more severe consequences but I wouldn’t go overboard on this as it is more important to keep the consequences fair in comparison to the crime. However, if that does not work it still is not your fault and you do not need to feel guilty.

I think when we have misplaced guilt we tend to over compensate one way or the other and none of this is good for the child.

You will either become overly strict, which will make a willful child more rebellious or you will relax your consequences which then lets your child believe that they can outwit authority.  So the only thing you can do is to stick with what you know is a fair and reasonable consequence and ensure they are given when necessary.

One day someone sent me a cartoon by email. It simply showed Adam and Eve in the garden trying to hide their nakedness after eating the apple and the caption read; ‘What makes you think you are the only one that cannot make your children behave?’ So the truth hit me, if the creator couldn’t get his kids to do what they were told, what makes me think I will get my kids to be perfect?

The burden of guilt I was carrying, because I didn’t have the ‘Perfect Family‘ was lifted off my shoulders. I share the story of it with you in the hope it will relieve you from guilt as it did for me.

What types of things make you feel guilty as a parent? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com


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  • If someone puts me down I carry guilt but then I think as long as I do my best and my child is loved and nurtured then I am doing a pretty good job.

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  • I feel I’m doing the best I can, and setting the best example I can.

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  • I know I’m doing the best I can, and setting the best example I can.

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  • Guilt is a wasted emotion. Those who should feel guilt don’t and those that do feel it shouldn’t. It’s hard being a parent, it’s only natural we question our decisions at times, but ultimately we mostly do the best we can

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  • definitely guilty when i shout at my child when she’s crying out loud and later realise that it’s the only way she can communicate with me so i should not have blamed her and get angry instead.

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  • Yesterday a friend rang and told me his wife had committed suicide by hanging herself in their carport. I was shell-shocked, couldn’t believe she did that to him. He is almost 80, he was struggling to breathe with his emphysemia, I didn’t know what to say.

    My hubby went to check up on him today, he was such a mess but mick offered to help him by checking up with Centrelink on what he has to do. I rang them for him, found out the information, and rang the funeral directors, found out different options for him, and rough prices, and I have invited him around tomorrow for a cuppa and we can make the phone calls.

    At least I feel like I am doing something for this gentle man, who hasn’t even got a pair of good trousers for a funeral, but we found out that we don’t need to have a funeral, we can have a cremation, then have the ashes sent to him, we can then have a party and celebrate her life and do what he wants with the ashes. He is struggling just to sleep in the house. I think we may have to get help to clean the house from top to bottom, I suffer chronic back pain so I can’t do that. My hubby is ill too so he can’t do it, but maybe pay for someone to do it for him.

    I don’t understand why anyone can hang themselves, I really don’t. Maybe because there have been so many hangings over the last few months. It is so sad. Sad that she didn’t think she could call me.

    I would hope this story will help people who are considering suicide that it is selfish in a way that the family has to deal with it, finding her will be in his mind forever, he can’t get it out of his mind. If you need help, there is so much help, lifeline, friends, neighbours, anyone will help if you need it. Go and see your doctor, or nurse at the local hospital. Please please get help, don’t let it go so far Life is hard, trust me I know, there are times when my pain gets too much, but I tell my doctor and I see a counsellor, or psychologist who is terrific. please get help from somewhere. A PROBLEM SHARED IS A PROBLEM HALVED. my thoughts are with everyone suffering such depression. I am always here to help xxxx dee

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  • sounds awesome and looks great

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  • i think we are all burdened with these feelings from time to time just be open and dont be afraid to share! If you are feeling overwhelmed mums and dads or anyone phone lifeline!

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  • I find parenting teenagers in todays world extremely frustrating…..we have a picture of how we want it to be and the reality rarely mirrors it. The kids think they know everything and you know nothing, they have no respect for your needs or feelings, they won’t take responsibility for their actions and they have no value for anything.

    I always said you must lead by example and I have always done that….why then don’t they follow that example???


    • If you are concerned your children are not taking responsibility for their actions, and yet you are being a good example of doing so, then just keep at it. It could be an age thing. They might still be in the “it’s all about me stage” which usually ends around 18-22 depending on the child.

      My advice is to let them see you make mistakes as well and then own up to them. Let them see how you take responsibility, and if it is something you cannot show them, then find an opportunity to share that info with them when the subject comes up.

      Children see more than we know. So just keep being the best example you can be.

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  • Many of the “professionals” have uni degrees etc. but no practial parenting experience.
    I know of a case where “professionals” turned up un-announced and told them they made no attempt to improve their daughter’s behaviour. They had done no research or they would have known that she is intellectually disabled with the IQ of a 2 year old at 6 years of age.
    She had already been transferred to a special needs class. That is not done for no reason.


    • Not certain as to what this has to do with guilt? But thanks for your input.

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  • I feel guilty for raising my voice or not playing with them when I am trying to get things done. The kids are only young once, housework should wait.


    • You are right, are children are young only once. I think in all things there should be a balance. If you stress over your house and feel it always needs to be 100% perfect and use all that time to clean you are teaching your children that the house is more important than them. However, if you rarely clean just to spend time with the children you are teaching them to be entitled. They will learn to think that they should always come first. As in all things in life this needs to be balanced properly, and you can spend time with your children while cleaning. I love your heart Elizabeth. If you are going to be unbalanced, let it be on the side of spending time with your children.

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  • Occasionally I make decisions that selfishly promote my wants and my children suffer from lack of sleep or late meals or the feeling of unfairness. Guilt is only one of my punishments.


    • Well worded Deb. I would like to suggest that you don’t use guilt as a punishment for yourself. Use it as a motivation to be better.

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  • It makes me feel guilty thinking that I cant give my daughter the better life style that she deserves (trust me I’m trying my hardest).


    • Love is so much more important than lifestyle. As long as you are loving your children, keeping them clean, providing food and shelter, you are doing a good job. Your children don’t need a lot of things, or a big fancy house, they need the essentials and you.

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  • I always feel guilty after I raise my voice at the little one!

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  • Plenty of discussion points from this that;s for sure. Polarises people’s views. Interesting.

    Reply

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