- Every parent strives to be good and create happy memories like the one above. All we have to be is good enough. There is no perfect parent or perfect childhood.
“I’m a bad mother,” said “Zoe” a young mother of three children, 7, 5 and 2, at my ”Act Don’t Yak” workshop on how to cut the yelling last week in Littleton.
“Zoe” repeated that statement several times during the workshop on positive parenting techniques. “I’m doing so much wrong,” she said sadly.
I empathize with Zoe’s guilt, pain and desire because I have lived it. I started taking parenting workshops when I recognized what I was doing wasn’t working.
RECOGNIZING is about 80 percent of the process. Buddhist nun Pema Chodron says that after recognize comes refrain, relax and finally, resolve.
This means we parents must manage our emotions — including guilt. We only have to be parents for 24 hours when the guilt sets in, along with new empathy for our own parents. It hurts to realize that WE have messed up because we care about our kids so much and we want the best for them. We all mess up.
I usually start my programs with a story of one of my major mess-ups. My story of a horrible-no-good-terrible-day frees up parents to share theirs. And all parents have those moments, words and days that we regret.
Zoe resolved to start the journey to change, to take more workshops and improve her parenting skills. It will take time, attention and worse, backsliding and starting over again after failure.
That’s where self-encouragement comes in. Sarah, the mother of six, shared at a workshop how she handled a difficult situation with her teenage son. We gave her feedback on what she did right — which was a lot. Sarah walked away feeling better about how she responded to the situation. This is priceless. We can practice self-encouragement when we recognize-refrain [the hardest two to achieve] then find the path to relax and resolve.
Taking a step back from parenting at a workshop
allows insight, camaraderie with other parents, laughter, forming a positive parenting plan and starting self-encouragement to better manage the inevitable parent guilt. I hope to see you at one — with a friend.
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Tags: connection, mommy guilt, parenting about, positive parenting
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