Advice Column, Parenting

Feeling Guilty? Think Again

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When I was homeschooling my son, I was concerned that he was spending too much time with me.  I worried that his protected bubble was too calm, easy and slow-paced.  Now that he is going to school, I ask myself if he needs more of his own space; maybe he isn’t getting adequate family time; is his world too rushed for such a young being.  What else, I wonder, can I do to be a better parent?

Parents naturally focus on their children and want the best for them.  This is normal and understandable.  However, too much fussing and worrying about the wrong reasons, can cause unnecessary distress for both parent and child.  There are times when we need to ‘let go’ and allow moments and experiences to unfold as they are meant to, without our interference.  Take my friend, for instance, who was visiting daycare centres for her toddler and came across one with video cameras linked to a site on the internet, allowing parents to have constant viewing access of their child.  In the end, she decided not to send her child there.  She knew that she would be glued to her screen, looking to see if her child is being looked after properly, criticising the caregivers and feeling bad that her child is not with her.

Sometimes, a parents worry can arise from guilt, guilt of not doing enough or giving enough.  What is enough?  Are we determining what our offspring need according to what we instinctively feel or know is appropriate for them, or are we in the trap of behaving in a certain manner to adhere to social expectancies, peer pressure or societies judgements?

Human behaviour specialist, Dr. John Demartini says, “Negative self talk gives you feedback that you are living according to others”.  And when this happens we need to realign ourselves to live according to our purpose.  In his course, ‘The Breakthrough Experience’, Dr. Demartini explains how to neutralise the feelings of guilt and shame by looking for it’s benefits.  Every situation has a positive and negative and as much as we may at first deny it, we will eventually realise, when we dig deep, that there is an upside to even difficult situations.

Now that my son is at school I spend most of my time writing.  At first I felt guilty.  I was so used to being with him, guiding him and supporting him.  What if he needs me, what if the teacher doesn’t understand him, what if… These games of ‘What if’ can really consume ones time, thoughts and energy.  Funny thing is; it’s all in our head; based on our perception.  So I decided to work on balancing my perception.   There is power in writing, so I wrote down twenty reasons why my work is helping our family.  When I started to see the benefits of what I was doing and how it was serving my child, my partner and our home, the atmosphere changed.  By accepting myself and honouring the value in my daily actions, those around me soon awakened to this as well.  I never said anything to my family about this process but a few days later my son casually commented, “I’m so glad that you are working again and writing so much.  I like to see that”.  My heart soared.

The benefits of acknowledging ourselves as worthy parents is an imperative part of child rearing.  If we want our sons and daughters to grow to become adults with self-worth, confidence, respect and dreams, then we need to start within ourselves.  No matter how much time or money we do, or do not, give our children, what is important is the quality of each moment.   Thus, it is the presence of the adults along with their balanced emotions that will provide a nurturing, stable environment, which in turn gives the brain an opportunity to maximise its development, and the physical body too.

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