Raise Your Hand If You Have Parental Guilt

There you are, it is a lovely Saturday afternoon and you are sitting with a bunch of your friends just enjoying some coffee and cake. All of toddlers are around and seem to be wanting this or that.

Each has his or her set of toys to keep them busy, but they soon see what the other is doing and would rather be doing that.Parental guilt

You Get The Parental Mental Guilt Trip

You start to think, why have I not bought my little girl such a toy? Her doll seems dull compared to the little dolly cart the other girl has!

You and the other mom try to encourage sharing and hope they will play together. But, as it’s not your girls toy, you have to tell her to leave it be so the two of them don’t end up fighting, which may very well result in a fight between you and your friend or perhaps, in this case I should say acquaintance.

When the children come to sit on their parents laps, you just can’t help but notice how pretty that other girl is. Big beautiful blue eyes. The cutest blond hair, all doled up.

Hey, she could pose of those children’s fashion shows just as is.

Picture perfect angle. Here comes parental guilt trip number two. You just can’t help but compare this girl to yours.

You love your little girl, who is just as much an angel to you. Is it envy? Envy that this girl is prettier than mine? How can I think any other child is prettier than mine? The guilt is just endless.

Why Are You Comparing These Two Children in the First Place?

It may be a protective nature that kicks in. Perhaps it is a painful reminder of your own childhood. You were never the prettiest girl in the bunch and were thus, often overlooked as a child. Is it not a fact that the prettier girls always got all the attention?

Not just at pre-school age. As you all grew older, they were the ones getting voted as princess of this or that. Later, this became a popularity contest. They always seemed to have more friends and a better life. They would boast about this or that toy and later would wear all the best outfits. They were the ones to get all the roses on Valentine’s Day, while you and the rest of the more average girls were left wanting.

Comparing Skills and Milestones

Not only do we compare our kids on outer appearance but we compare their skills and when they reached what milestone.

My niece was talking so clearly with a vocabulary that would simply just amaze me by the age of two and a half, while my own daughter has yet to really start pronouncing words properly. As a parent I wonder if this is a shortfall on my behalf. Did I do enough to stimulate her little mind?

It seems I’m not the only one comparing my child to this particular niece. Her own mother is now comparing the younger sister. This one has not reached the same milestones as early as the eldest one. She is thinking, “am I doing something wrong with this one?”

This is where we as parents make a vital mistake: We should not compare our children to other children, not even their own siblings.

As human beings we are all unique in our skills and talents. While my own sister has the most engaging presence and has a wonderful verbal manner, I can write a ten thousand word piece in next to no time, while she would struggle with such a thing.

We Are all Different. So Why Do We Expect Our Children Be the Same?

Perhaps here is where the problem lies: Do you accept your own uniqueness?

It is common for us not to want to stick out in a crowd. We want and need validation of our worth to humanity and society, yet we don’t want to be a “weirdo”.

What’s more, to “make it” we need that something extra that will differentiate us from the rest. It is our unique skills that set us apart from the crowd. I think you would agree, even the so-called beautiful people are in a crowd.

Stop Comparing Your Parenting Methods to Those of Others!

Some parents follow all the parenting advice in books and it works for them. Yet, you are upset when the same methods don’t work for you.

ChildrenNeither you nor your child/children are the same as those other people. So, what if a set routine is not the way to go for you?

Is it really all that horrible when your child doesn’t have a set sleeping time, but ends up sleepping through the night?

Everyone keeps telling you that co-sleeping is the worst thing you could do! What do they know? You get more sleep co-sleeping, you are more rested and your child is happier. In that case, this may well be for you.

Similarly, it could be the other way round. Some children really don’t enjoy co-sleeping and end up crying more than in their crib. As a parent, you need to find which methods makes life and parenting easy for you.

As parents, we need to encourage and support other parents, not criticize their every move. I love being a parent, but it’s not without its challenges. Those people who make everything look so easy have their own challenges. You may just not know about them.

Stop Comparing the Milestones!

So, this child has excellent language skills, but is a fussy eater. The next child eats everything put on a plate, but can’t communicate that well. Don’t worry, it will come.

Give each child their own space to explore and experience the world in their own way. Don’t make the child feel less just because he’s not like his brother. One may grow up to be a teacher while the other may grow up to be a writer. Each of these are noble and good professions. The world needs both of these kinds of people.

Your Way is the Right Way!

Take it easy and work with your strengths. At the end of the day, loving your child for who he or she is, is the best you can do as a parent. Let them grow up developing their own skills and talents.

Accept your personality type is not the same as other parents. Your tolerance for certain things may be very different. Your method may seem like madness to the next. As long as your method is done with love, not hurting anyone and is working for you, it is the right way.

We are all different. In this way each of us fulfills a vital role in society that the next person may not be able to fill. As parents it is time, we accept this about ourselves and our children.

Have you had parental guild lately? Tell us your story!

13 thoughts on “Raise Your Hand If You Have Parental Guilt”

  1. Avatar

    I KNOW you are supposed to compare children to other children…so why did I do it this morning? I said, “other 5 yr olds are brushing their teeth and putting on socks and you just want mommy to do everything for you!” THe second it came out of my mouth I scolded myself internally. I guess I got stuck and didn’t know what else to tell him to make him want to be more independent. We all make mistakes, but I realized what I did and now I must come up with another, more appropriate response!

    Great article

    1. Avatar

      It is really difficult not to compare our children to others. Alas we are human and tend to do so. It is good that you realized it. The key is not to beat our selves up too much, and try to do better next time.

      Thank you.

  2. Avatar

    I’m consumed by parental guilt on a daily basis. Mainly, for me, it’s due to the elements of my personality that are lacking. I’m not like some of the ‘super moms’ I’m not great at keeping up on the house keeping – everything is not perfect; the pots done, the ironing piled up fresh, clean and wrinkle free…you get my drift. I’m not a sporty person so I felt bad about being a single parent and lacking those interests to pass to my children. I want them to have balance, and in concentrating on the negative aspects of my parenting, I often fail to see the things I do contribute. I talk to my children, offer them comfort, laugh with them. It is just so easy to compare to what others are able to give – more money, more organisation, more discipline. Then there are the traps which we set for ourselves. I worked so hard when my second child was born to ensure they felt there was no favouritism, that both were loved equally. And while that is true, my family had a negative impact – they treat my eldest far better than my youngest and I end up over compensating, which reflects badly on my own power within the hierarchy of the family. This is not a good example to set and I torment myself endlessly on this point.

    Thanks for sharing the article. This is something all parents can relate to, and it’s nice to know we’re not alone. We all have feelings of inadequacy and being parents is one of the most difficult jobs in the world!

    1. Avatar

      It is indeed not easy. We need to not aspect ourselves to be “superwoman” and “supermom” all the time. We are who we are. We love our children and that is the best we can do in life for them.

  3. Avatar

    Wonderful article Serin..pretty much covers all the points young parents especially first time parents go through. Sometimes even when you dont want to compare you see other mothers doing it and go down the worry route for some time. Hope to see more work like this from your side!

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