Part 2: Shame and Guilt Aren’t Necessary

This is part two of the 5-part series: Relationships Are Complicated! Check out part one, three, four, and five.


Relationships Are Complicated.P2The more I work with families the more I see that shame and guilt take up a huge amount of space in our heads. Not only do you have to make all the decisions for your child, but you are tasked with doing it effectively all the time lest someone make a snide remark or judge you for not getting it right! That’s such a load of crap! The relationship that you develop with your child is wrought with as much failure as it is success, and anyone who judges that is a big fat hypocrite.

But, let’s jump back a bit and look at this through a softer lens. I know no one wants to be called a hypocrite!

When we see what others are doing in the parenting it brings up all sorts of stuff for us. We question our own parenting, our own upbringing, and our own sense of self. Seeing someone get it right restores our positive image in humanity, but seeing someone do it wrong brings out our voracious need to feel superior. It’s nothing to be worried about. We all do it! And, when we think about how we interact with each other (remember, this is a post about relationships) it makes even more sense that we compare ourselves to others – especially as a parent.

The most important part of this discussion though is that shame and guilt about how you parent is not necessary for a great relationship with your child.

In fact, when you bring those two into play the relationship actually begins to suffer. Why? Well, when we worry about how right we are as opposed to being present with ourselves and our children we lose focus on who we are and who our child is. We see events and behaviors through our unfocused parenting goggles, and we react to this distorted image rather than seeking healthy connection.

So, how to eradicate these two from your parenting and make room for authentic connection?

By having a daily practice of acceptance and empathy for yourself and your children. The funny thing is that guilt and shame will come up, especially if there are other people who interact with your family. People’s ideas, advice, suggestions, and unsolicited “help” will bombard you constantly. And, since you cannot control how people act, you have to make it a priority to take care of yourself, your mind, and your relationship with your kid!

On that note, you have to accept that even when you don’t make the best decision or when you yell or when you choose a harsher punishment than normal you are still a great parent. Your relationship with your child, while complicated, is a forever and can be repaired at any time.

We’ll shed light on discipline and your relationship in next week’s post. And, keep your eyes peeled for posts on power differentials and using technology to enhance your relationships!

5 thoughts on “Part 2: Shame and Guilt Aren’t Necessary”

  1. Lanie Smith says:

    Great post. Love the parenting goggles!

    1. Welcome back to the blog, Lanie! Glad you liked the post and that the parenting goggles resonated with you!

  2. Great reminder for us all to realize that we are in control of the way how we respond to someone who wants to give advice about raising our children. We must also be gentle with ourselves and no one is perfect. Thanks for your contribution.

    1. Welcome back to the blog, Annmarie! Thanks for the kind words. It’s difficult to take advice because we care so much about how we’re parenting. I think being mindful and being intentional about how we give and receive advice can really help us deal with the guilt and shame that comes up for us!

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