Stormtrooper and mini darth riding a bike
Am I a good parent?

Being a parent is hard - there is so much pressure on mums and dads to be perfect parents. Parenting is not an exact science. Your job as a parent is to raise kids that are happy, kind and resilient. Just as you don’t expect your kids to be perfect, don’t put unrealistic, unattainable pressure on yourself. Stop beating yourself up! Your kids will turn out to be great even if you yelled at them this morning.

Social media does not help. It makes us feel like we need to do more and to do it better; we compare ourselves against each other and end up feeling like we’re not living up to our expectations.

Raising children has always had its challenging moments. It can be messy, noisy and unpredictable but also full of joy, heart-warming and fun.

How to be a good parent

If you are reading this, you have already shown that you are a good enough parent. We all worry that we might not be getting it right and that we’re messing our kids up. We all think that we need to be better at parenting, but all your kids need is for you to be good enough. Give yourself a break and permit yourself to trust your instincts.

If you break a promise you made to them, or you’re late picking them up, you apologise, learn from it so it doesn’t keep happening and then you move on. Children and young people are remarkably resilient. They will have an opportunity to experience disappointment and to resolve their problems.

It takes a lot of energy and effort to be any more than good enough, leaving you exhausted, frustrated and feeling like a failure. If it isn’t making you happy, it’s not making your kids happy.

The reality is that children and young people do so much better when we back off and let them do things for themselves. If you are reading this as an adult, you survived your childhood and adolescence. Let your kids do the things kids do, that we did when we were kids, mistakes and all.

What triggers your parental guilt?

Parental guilt might feel like; you’re not doing enough as a parent, you’re not doing things right, or that you’re making decisions that may ‘mess up’ your child in the long term. Is it when you realise you’ve been sat on your phone rather than connecting with your child? Or when you snap at them when they ask for something?

We feel that we’re being judged on our parenting but that is not the case. Equally, don’t assume that everyone else has it together because *spoiler alert* they don’t!

So what can you do?

  • Lower your standards – there is nothing wrong with being a bog-standard, mediocre parent!
  • Boundaries! – Do less and say no sometimes – don’t worry about trying to impress other parents; they’re too busy trying to parent their own kids to care
  • Trust your instinct – you know your kids, there’s no need to look for the approval of other people
  • Stop beating yourself up and give yourself a break 

The research says that good enough parents raise pretty great kids (honestly, just Google ‘good enough parent’).

Let them do more of the things you think they are capable of – let them make their own lunch, get themselves ready for school – so they have their own sense of responsibility.

You and they are going to make mistakes – that’s called being human. The important thing is to acknowledge, apologise, learn from it and then move on. Don’t let the guilt creep in; it just gets in the way. Accept the good, the bad and the difficult as part of the journey.

Counselling can help you with issues you are facing around your family. Speaking to a counsellor about parenting can help to improve communication and make relationships stronger both in and out of the family.

Online counselling can help you get the support you’re looking for. It gives you the choice of working with the right counsellor for you, regardless of where you are.

Get in touch here to schedule your free 'getting to know you' call to help you discover whether you feel able and comfortable for us to work together. Working with me can give you the space to work through the things you’re worrying about, so you know that you aren’t ruining their chance at a happy fulfilled life and that you are doing a great job. I can help you to let go a bit, give yourself some headspace and allow you to see the wood for the trees.