The Parenting Guilt Myth: Eliminate This Parenting Myth to Reduce Stress by Deborah Ann Davis, Parenting Coach
On every flight, the airline instructs you to first cover your face with the oxygen mask and then put the mask on your child. The same applies when you are outside the plane. You have to take care of you before you can take care of your child. If you are not managing your pressures, you will not be able to help them deal with their stressors.
Before you can steer your child toward a healthy direction, you must take control of your own life. You must first be able to identify the pressure-building issues facing parents. Here is the first major parenting myth you should take note of: the guilt myth.
Somehow society has nurtured a disproportionate respect of guilt. I’m not saying that there is no place for guilt. "New guilt" actually has one constructive purpose: To make you aware of the problem. Sometimes we allow certain issues to generate guilty feelings. Occasionally, we allow an incident to produce the overwhelming, incapacitating guilt that makes it impossible to think clearly.
If you are one to carry "old guilt" like it’s a badge of (dis)honor, stop it! Old guilt does not do you any good. It contributes stress chemicals to your bloodstream that wreak havoc with your body on a cellular level. It also does nothing to improve the situation.
Here are the four steps to eliminating old guilt:
- Do whatever is necessary to make sure that the situation does not get worse.
- Make any repairs you can to the situation.
- Ask for forgiveness from anyone negatively impacted from the situation. Move on if they do not forgive you at that time.
- You must lastly forgive yourself for the situation. If you could have done better in the situation, you would have. Cut yourself some slack when you err. Just make sure you learn from your mistakes and move on in peace.
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