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  • Writer's pictureP.E.T. South Africa

Help! I've messed up parenting

Do you often feel like you are making mistakes as a parent? Well, you are not alone. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we feel like we are failing as parents. Daily interactions with our children can cause frustration, irritation, a feeling of too-muchness and as a result, we do or say things that cause harm to our relationship with our children.

We all make mistakes. But it's the actions you decide to take after making those mistakes that will make the difference. Use your mistakes as learning opportunities. Failure to do so will end up in a repetition of the same mistakes causing irreparable harm. Here are some of the actions you need to take.

Admit when you've done wrong

So, you lost it. What your child needs from you now is an example of how to apologise and admit wrongdoing. And who better to set the example than you?

Never admitting failure when you've done wrong can lead to bigger problems in the longterm:

  • More restraint towards parents

  • Poorer relations with parents and friends

  • A quarrelsome child

  • More shyness

  • More unhappiness and crying

  • More dependence on parents

It is very important to explain to your child why you reacted in the way you did. Describe your emotions, your problem, and ask your child if both of you can come up with a solution to keep it from happening again. Involving your child in the problem-solving process makes them feel important and willing to cooperate.

"When children are given the opportunity to participate in setting rules or making decisions that will affect them, several good things happen. Children feel better about themselves, have higher self-esteem and self-confidence. Most importantly, they feel they have gained more “fate control”–more personal control over their own lives. " - Dr Thomas Gordon

Name that emotion

You are so much more than just angry. You are frustrated, annoyed, disgusted, agitated, afraid, and fed up. Dig a bit deeper and find what caused you to lash out at your child. It can help you become more aware of what triggered the emotion in the first place and help you regulate it in the future. It is also an excellent opportunity to teach your child about emotional regulation and expand their emotional vocabulary.

"Anger is a blanket term that overlays a lot of other emotions—frustration, fear, disgust, terror, insecurity, feeling threatened, etc. Digging deeper helps to clarify what triggered the strong reaction in the first place and can assist with dialing back the urge to lash out disproportionately or inappropriately with an emotional, irrational, reputation-shredding response." - Marie Bryson

Last but not least - there's no such thing as perfect parenting

We all know those parents who believe that their way of parenting is the only way. Those who have an opinion about everything - breastfeeding, sleeping, schooling, you name it. Comments like these can make you doubt your parenting. The tension you feel in your need to live up to someone else's parenting standards can cause a lot of tension between you and your child. It will feel like you are making mistakes. Remember, what works for one parent won't always work for you. Make peace with that. Set your own parenting standards and feel less like a failure. If you don't know what works for you, then it's your responsibility to find out and become a more confident parent.

To be a parent is not easy. To love your child unconditionally starts with accepting yourself in the same way. Be kind to yourself. And remember your children don't expect you to be perfect. They want you to be human.

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this communication is not to be construed as medical advice. Consult a professional on any medical or psychological concerns. The articles and blogs are posted only as opinion or ideas, and are general in nature. The administrator takes no responsibility for any action or outcome a reader may make as a result of reading a post.

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