Every parent at some point has asked the question, “Am I a bad parent?” You’re not alone if you’re thinking about questions like this:
- Am I doing this right?
- What am I doing wrong?
- Why don’t I have enough (time, money, energy) to do this?
- Do I have what it takes to parent my child?
- How have I let their behavior get this far?
- Am I ruining their life, education and future?
Questioning yourself as a parent can be a GOOD thing! (But be careful!)
When we became parents, we dreamed of our child’s future—what type of schools they would attend, the activities that they would participate in, and the friends they would have. Never in that dream did we consider a “global pandemic” or multiple years of listening closesly to CDC guidelines and upheaving our routines time after time again. Let alone how it would affect school, interaction with friends, and our family.
But you deserve Reset Button for yourself and your family. You don’t have to camp out with fear and guilt. But it does require some introspection:
- As a family, what are our priorities?
- What can I control and what can I not control?
- When it comes to my children, what type of relationship do I want?
- What does my child need from me as their parent?
Accept that you did the best that you could.
You’ve made it through years of uncharted territory, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Instead, make it a learning opportunity. Have a family meeting and have a conversation with your children to see how they are doing. Take the emotional temperature of your family. Learn, then let yourself off the hook.
Recognize that there will always be transitions.
Take some time to process how you have changed as a parent and what you may want to change going forward.
From Guilt to Action
Asking yourself these questions can move you from feeling guilty to taking action:
- Am I confusing being a good parent with being a perfect parent?
- Am I taking care of me to be the best version of myself?
- Is the issue really exhaustion from work, virtual schooling and parenting?
- What are the lessons that I can teach my children during this time?
- Am I the parent that my child needs me to be during this time?
Asking yourself these questions can help you learn from this time:
- What have I learned from and about my kids?
- How has my family benefitted from this time?
- What has been a struggle for us?
- How will we as a family be different by this time next year?
- How will I parent differently moving forward?
It’s always good to be trying to improve as a parent, but it is easy to fall into the perfection trap and end up sitting in feelings of fear and guilt. Instead, choose to see the potential for growth.