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Did I Fail My Children?

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Did I Fail My Children?

“I’ve Failed”.


This is a phrase commonly uttered in counseling. So many of us parents feel as if we have failed our children at one time or another. This could be brought on by our pediatrician telling us our child needs additional developmental support or more of a certain nutrient in their diet. Or by a disruptive change to a child’s structure such as divorce. Regardless of the source, there are many parents who go through life “on empty” with no sense of compassion towards themselves. There are so many reasons why this is an immensely detrimental summary of whatever difficult season you are going through. One of them being an unhealthy example of how our own children should act when something goes wrong. Another reason why this is a detrimental way of handling a difficult situation is the “tearing down” of ourselves that happens when we self-blame and live in guilt. This guilt eats away at the motivation and strength we need for moving on and thriving. Ending with “I’ve failed” knocks the wind out of our sails.

We may internally chastise ourselves for certain decisions we made in the past. The problem with this perspective is that the past has already passed. One of the most grace-filled and compassionate statements you can land on is, “I did the best I could with the information I had at that time”. At that particular time, you did your best. In the present, you have an opportunity to adjust your approach. You might have more information. Use it moving forward. Practice gratitude toward the time you have today, instead of focusing on the time lost or mistakes made. Release yourself from the impossible “perfect parent” standard. Every child will have their obstacles or difficulties in life. Grieve and acknowledge what you must, but don’t end there. You now have an opportunity to teach them how to handle change and adversity and pursue growth. You can do this.

by: Olivia Espinosa

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