Sometimes I think that we are our own worst enemies when it comes to parenting. Yes, it is wonderful when we raise the bar and set ourselves the goal of being the best parent we can be, but it can also be incredibly damaging. Too many parents meet me who confess their guilt. They are worried that they are making too many mistakes, screaming too much, not enjoying every moment, longing for days and nights, regretting children, using too many screens, not playing enough, not breast feeding long enough, not feeding their children with full food and so on. As you say, I have heard a kindred confession of guilt. In fact, I've never encountered a group of people who are harder on their own than those who practice gentle parenting.
Yes, self-observation and awareness of our mistakes are a very important part of gentle parenting, but too many people are in the way because they treat themselves so badly. The irony that gentle education treats children fairly, with empathy and respect, does not get lost when I think about how difficult some parents are with themselves.
I chose parents I'm not proud of, and I would not make a decision again if I knew then what I know now. I also often slipped "in the moment" and said and done things that I regret. Everyone has, but I welcome my guilt, because it teaches me to be a better parent. If we know better, we'll do better. Life is about living in the present, parenting is about living in the present and not thinking about what happened yesterday. If you do not have enough patience today, that's fine, because tomorrow is a new day and everyone can change!
When you're ready, I want you to try something. I want you to pay close attention to your thoughts in the next 7 days. Every time you notice that you are feeling negative about your traits and educational qualities, we want you to stop and correct yourself. Remember that you are learning to do your best and that you can and will get better with practice and a little self-directed empathy. Take a break and try to direct some of the care that you constantly put on your children to yourself. If you are an affirmation type, try repeating some of them when you most need it:
"I'm still learning and doing my best."
"I am a great mother / father"
"I can do this"
"Today is a new day, what happened yesterday is past, it's time to move on."
"I am good enough as I am"
"Perfect does not exist, really"
"Today I will be nice to myself"
"It's okay if I do not know all the answers."
"We are learning together"
"All parents have bad days, some just hide them better than others"
"It's okay to focus on my own emotional wellbeing."
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