Am I a good parent?

Being a parent is hard. There is so much pressure on mums, dads and carers to be perfect. Raising children and young people is not an exact science – your job as a parent is to raise kids that are happy, kind and resilient. Just as you don’t expect your kids to be perfect, don’t put totally unrealistic, unattainable pressure on yourself. Stop beating yourself up! Your kids can turn out to be great, even if you yelled at them this morning.

Social media doesn’t always help, as it makes us feel like we need to do more and to do it better; we compare ourselves against each other and end up feeling like we’re not living up to our own expectations.

Raising children has always had its challenging moments. It can be messy, noisy and unpredictable but also full of joy, heart-warming and fun.

How to be a good parent

If you are here now, you have already shown that you are a good enough parent. We all worry that we might not be getting it right and that we are messing our kids up. We all think that we need to be better at parenting, but your children just need you to be good enough.

Give yourself a break and give yourself permission to trust your instincts.

If you break a promise you made to them or you are late picking them up one time, you apologise, learn from it so it doesn’t keep happening and then you move on. Children and young people are remarkably resilient and are learning all the time. You are giving them a chance to experience disappointment, to resolve their own problems and also to build their resilience.

It takes so much energy and effort to be any more than good enough and it makes you exhausted, frustrated and feel like a failure. The truth is, if it isn’t making you happy, it’s not making your kids happy.

The reality is that children and young people do so much better when we back off and let them do things for themselves. If you are reading this as an adult, congratulations on surviving your childhood and adolescence. Let your kids do the things kids do, that we did when we were kids, mistakes and all.

What triggers your parental guilt?

Parental guilt might feel like; you’re not doing enough as a parent, you’re not doing things right, or that you’re making decisions that may mess up or damage your child in the long term. Is it when you realise you’ve been sat on your phone rather than connecting with your child? Or when you snap at them when they ask for something?

We feel that we’re being judged on our parenting but that just isn’t the case. Equally, don’t assume that everyone else has it together because *spoiler alert* they don’t!

So, what can you do?

  • Lower your standards – there is nothing wrong with being a bog-standard, mediocre parent!
  • Boundaries do less and say no sometimes. Don’t worry about trying to impress other parents, they’re far too busy trying to parent their own children to care.
  • Trust yourself and your instincts you know your kids, there is no need to look for other people’s approval.
  • Stop beating yourself up and give yourself a break.

 The research says that 'good enough' parents raise pretty great kids (honestly, just Google ‘good enough parent’).

Let them do more of the things you think they are capable of – let them make their own lunch, get themselves ready for school – so they have their own sense of responsibility.

You and they are going to make mistakes – that is called being human. The important thing is to acknowledge, apologise, learn from it and then move on. Try not to let the guilt creep in, it just gets in the way. Accept the good, the bad and the difficult as part of the journey.

Working with me can give you the space to work through your parenting worries so you know that you aren’t ruining their chance at a happy fulfilled life and in fact that you are doing a really good job. I can help you to let go a bit, give yourself some headspace and allow you to see the wood for the trees.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Peacehaven, East Sussex, BN10

Written by Jennifer Warwick

Peacehaven, East Sussex, BN10

I can help you form and manage healthy, positive relationships with the people
who are important to you and allow you to get on with your life.
Contact me today for a free chat by phone to start your journey.
I am a BACP registered counsellor working online via Zoom.

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