Things To Remember When You Feel Like a Failure as a Parent
Every parent makes mistakes, but that doesn’t mean they are failures as parents! Here are nine things to remember when you feel like a failure as a parent and know that your children still love you no matter what.
As parents, we’re constantly learning from our mistakes and trying to improve upon what we’ve done before. We make mistakes, we feel bad about them, and then we move on and do better the next time around. Still, sometimes it’s hard to shake the feeling that you’re not doing enough as a parent – that somehow you’re failing your children and not giving them the best life possible. These nine things to remember can help keep your head above water when you feel this way.
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1) It’s your job
Parents often struggle with guilt and feel like they’re not doing enough for their kids. There’s an endless list of things you could be doing to better your child’s life—going to meetings, organizing carpools, being active in your community—the list goes on and on. But experts will tell you that feeling like a failure because you aren’t doing everything is unhealthy for both parent and child. Instead, try focusing on what really matters: it’s called parenting for a reason. It’s not about perfecting our children or ourselves; it’s about raising happy and healthy people who can one day lead rewarding lives without us. No pressure!
2) Keep calm When You Feel Like a Failure as a Parent
This is normal, inevitable, and part of being human. Most parents have those days when they wonder if they’re doing it right. If you find yourself paralyzed by doubt, just take a deep breath, remind yourself that you’re not alone in your struggles, and return to caring for your children in an effort to do your best every day. Sometimes, that’s all we can do—and it’s more than enough.
3) Children are resilient
The moment you wake up, you’re right back to be a first-time parent. It can be easy to feel like you’ve been doing everything wrong—and sometimes, that makes it hard to see your child’s accomplishments. But they’re there; really! They’re growing, developing, and learning all on their own—and that means you don’t have to worry so much about raising them perfectly. Focus on supporting them instead of trying so hard to control every little thing they do. Chances are good that if you love them and support them (even when they screw up), they’ll turn out just fine in life.
4) Think about the kind of parent you want to be
It’s easy to focus on what you’re doing wrong and forget that, at your core, you want to be a good parent. Think about your definition of a good parent and think back on all of those times when you fell short. Were they really failures? Or were there mitigating circumstances? You might not be able to change how you feel about being a mother (or father) but reminding yourself of what kind of parent you want to be can help put things in perspective. Chances are, you’re closer than you think! Sometimes all it takes is one quick look back for that realization to sink in. It could be just what you need to move forward with confidence…and give yourself another chance.
5) This too shall pass
This can be difficult to remember when you’re feeling frazzled like there’s no way things will ever get easier. The truth is that every child has his or her own developmental stage, and even with your best efforts, there will come times when everything feels chaotic and out of control. It might help to know that phases often pass more quickly than we anticipate—just keep reminding yourself that you’ve gotten through tough times before and you’ll do it again. No matter how hard things seem right now, they won’t stay that way forever.
6) Praise them when they do right but don’t forget to correct them when they make mistakes
Your kids will make mistakes. A lot of them. They won’t do everything right, and that’s okay. What’s important is that you teach them to be empathetic and kind, even when others do things that aren’t so nice. That’s part of being human! Even if your kid does something wrong—which they will—it doesn’t mean they’re a bad person; it just means they made a mistake and being human isn’t always easy. It’s okay to correct them and tell them not to do it again, but don’t let their occasional slip-ups take away from how great they are overall or what you love about them.
7) You are doing your best so don’t beat yourself up if you fail at something
Parents are human and so are raising children. It’s extremely easy to beat yourself up for not always being on your child’s side or for making mistakes. But remember that being a parent isn’t easy, it can be hard to be patient and understanding all of the time. Giving yourself grace will allow you to move forward with love, confidence, and perseverance when things don’t go as planned.
9) If all else fails, remember that their behavior reflects on you. So behave!
Your child’s poor behavior is not only directed at you, but also in front of you. Don’t take it personally and don’t allow yourself to react or retaliate. Maintain your composure and discipline your children calmly, rationally, and with maturity. Show them how to act like an adult when confronted with frustration or adversity. This will help instill values that will last well beyond childhood.
8) Don’t rush it – take time
It’s easy to become frustrated and anxious about parenting when you feel like your child is moving slower than other kids. The truth is that children are different, with different learning styles and developmental stages. Some parents get frustrated by their young children not talking or walking on time, while others panic because their teen seems more interested in partying than studying for finals. If you feel like you’re failing your kid, try to take a deep breath and realize that most of us have these same anxieties at some point in our lives. As long as you do your best and let go of perfectionism, there’s no such thing as failure; there are only kids who need love – lots of it!