When our kids mess up, as mothers it’s easy to turn the blame on ourselves. Isn’t it? We ask, “Where did I go wrong?”
What did I do wrong as a parent? Didn’t I teach them right from wrong? What could I have done differently?
It’s interesting to me that when a teen gets in trouble with drugs, pregnant at 14, or constantly skips school, other parents ask, “Where was their mother?” The finger-pointing begins. Obviously, that mother isn’t watching her kid!
Mothers don’t say, “How can I raise my child to be a drug dealer at 15?” or “What I really want is for my son to shoot up a high school.” Not any reasonably sane mother anyway. Okay, there are truly bad mothers out there. I have personally known one. But I am not talking about those bad mothers.
No, I am talking about the devoted, read-all-the-parenting-books-involved-in-their-kids-life kind of mother. I am talking about the moms who earnestly are trying their very best to raise a productive member of society, not a lunatic.
When our kids make a mistake, we can’t take the all blame, because we’re not the only ones to blame.
“There are many other factors in his (your child’s) life besides you, which will affect his personality and development: genes, other family members, school, friends, and so on. So when things go wrong, don’t beat yourself up, since it is very likely not you and you alone that led to the problem,” states Dr. Hans Steiner, professor emeritus of child psychiatry at Stanford University.
Well said, Hans.
Mom-guilt is why I think we place the blame on ourselves. It started at birth when I cried on the phone to a friend that I couldn’t breast feed anymore. What if she doesn’t grow up strong because I feed her formula? Oh, the guilt wrecked me.
And I went down hill from there. At every stage of growth I agonized over every little decision as if it was life or death. Then, when one of them messed up, as kids do, I turned to blaming myself. Did I get lazy and let something go? Did I ignore the signs? What did I do wrong? I should’ve known.
It’s easy to think that when we are all about our kids their bad choices are all about us. When we love and protect them with every last breath. We want to control their life so they don’t make bad choices.
Be honest. There is usually something we could have done better, or said better, or a situation we could have handled better, but we’re not the only reason our child make a bad choices.
Being a good mother doesn’t mean your child won’t make bad choices. And being a horrible mother doesn’t mean your child is destined to a life of bad choices.
Our kids are little humans who grow up to be their own person, with their own thoughts, ideas, and choose to do or see things different than we do. They make choices without consulting us first, and sometimes they are very bad choices. It doesn’t mean we didn’t teach them right or wrong. It means they are growing up. Making bad choices is a part of that. Unfortunately.
Moms, we are an important factor in our kids lives, but we are not the only factor. Remember that the next time you think it’s all you fault.
There is no one way to parent. A lot of it is doing the best you can do with the information you have, then leaving it in God’s hands. Our kids were wonderfully made to be who they are, no matter who you want them to be.
FINAL THOUGHT: If things aren’t going the way you wish (i.e. your child is acting out and you feel you have no control), try this advice from Andy Stanley at It’s Your Move:
Make a list of three things you wish you had been doing or saying all along to your child. Go ahead. Make your list. I’ll wait.
Got your list? Now, start doing those three things. Today.
***Linking up with brave women at Holley Gerth, Coffee for Your