Are You Feeling Like an Awful Parent?

Posted: May 31, 2019

Are You Feeling Like an Awful Parent? 

Tina Feigal, MS., Ed. , Copyright © 2019 Anu Family Services/Center for the Challenging Child

Every day when I coach parents, I hear, "I feel like an awful parent."  I never believe this statement, because I don't feel like anyone is being an awful parent, at least not on purpose.  Present Moment Parenting has 10 tenets, or values/beliefs.  Tenet #10 is "Parents are doing the best they can with the tools they have." 

The way nasty failure feelings sneak into your life might be that you know you're doing the best you can with the tools you have, but you're just at a loss to figure out how to change what you're doing.  You've tried yelling, becoming silent, punishing, pleading, bribing, cajoling and any number of other tactics to get better behavior from your child.  Nothing seems to have a lasting effect, and the frustration is overwhelming.  All you want is a peaceful home life, and why should that be so hard?  You see other families looking all happy on social media or at the park or soccer field, and wonder, "What's their magic?  Why don't I have this?" 

These are some possibilities:
1. No one taught you how to be a parent (society's major oversight.) 
2. You have a child with ADHD, giftedness, autism, trauma or another situation that makes parenting much more challenging than what you see in the kids at the park.
3.  Your child is very emotionally sensitive, and maybe also has sensory processing issues (hard for him to integrate noises, light, tastes, touch or smells.)
4. You think punishment should work because that's how you learned to behave as a child.
5. You had a traumatic childhood and it's a mystery to you how to deal with meltdowns, defiance and refusal.  You just want to hide. 

Every parent on the earth has some ways in which they are "awful" to their kids at times, myself included.  I grew up without effective parenting at almost every level, and believe me, I had to make a concerted effort to figure out how to help my kids feel loved and guided.  I went to counseling and Adult Children of Alcoholics groups, journaled, prayed, and surrendered a lot. My oldest and youngest are 10 years apart in age, so I was at this parenting thing for a long, long time.  I'm still at it, even though my 3 sons are all grown. 
I'm saying this because I want you to know there's no judgment on you, from someone who's been there.  I'm also saying it because there's a mountain of hope for your parenting to do what mine has done ... improve over time.  My grandchildren are as spunky and intense as my kids were, so I find ways to grow with them every day, too.  Kids and parents are always in process, and there's no such thing as "perfect."  But there's always love and a desire to connect, which keeps us going to the next horizon.  

This week I heard two separate parents use the word "hope" during coaching sessions. Just a few weeks ago, they came to me with major frustration and little hope for improvement in their relationships with their children.  I told them that as a parent coach, "hope" is my favorite word.  It shows that my clients are seeing a different, more effective way to parent their children. They're happier and more in control, and so are the kids.  They're connected in a new way, which is everything.  

If you want to stop feeling "awful" and start to experience hope around your parenting, I'm here for you.  Click here for all the info you need.  If I missed something, email me to get your questions answered.  Don't delay.  You deserve to be happy.  

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