The Guilty Secrets of Parenting

You take your eyes off your child for a second and they fall over. What do you feel? Guilt. Their friends all have the latest tablet, but your budget just won’t stretch to buying one? The result? Guilt. They can’t go to a birthday party. You have to go to work and will miss their school play. You haven’t got their favourite food in for dinner. Guilt, guilt and more guilt.

The fact is that all good parents feel guilty some of the time, if not most of the time, if we’re being totally honest. There is very little that can be done about this, as it’s part of the job, but there are ways of managing it to make sure it doesn’t start to hold you back and begin detracting from your very real parenting skills.

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Be Realistic | You may feel like you need some at times, but the fact is that you do not have super-powers. You may want to be in two places at once or be able to clean the house and play at the same time, but this is just not possible, so don’t beat yourself up about it. Try to explain to your children why they have to miss their school disco or why you didn’t have time to go to the shops. It might not prevent the meltdowns, but you will know that, realistically, you have done all you can.

The ‘No’ Guilt | Don’t feel bad about saying ‘no’. The fact is that your children cannot eat crisps for tea every day or stay up until midnight the day before school. Just be consistent and your children will come to appreciate the boundaries you have set, although they probably won’t tell you this to your face.

Money Misery | Even the richest parents cannot give their children everything they want if they hope to raise a future generation that understands the value of money and really appreciates the things that they do buy and own. You may not be able to afford to buy them the Apple iPhone 6 that they so desperately want straight away, but you could encourage them to save to buy it themselves. Give them pocket money, if you can afford it, and pay them to do jobs around the house. Combine this with birthday and Christmas money, and they will get there in the end. This is nothing to feel guilty about — it is a way of teaching them that they have to work for what they really want, and it will make them all the more appreciative in the end.