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If you are a reader of this blog, I think I can safely assume that you are a parent who is actively invested in trying to do everything “right”–right according to your own judgement and discernment. Of course, we often are faced with situations as parents where we don’t necessasrily know what “right” is in the context of our situation. We have to make a judgement call in the moment.
Because we are humans, there will invariably be times when we make the wrong call. In our 20/20 hindsight we look back and see the choice we made was not the “right” one. We should have acted differently in the situation. We should have chosen a different consequence. We should have responded a different way. We made a mistake.
This retrospective analyzing happens quite often as parents, and I find for myself it happens most often with my oldest child, Brayden. With him, I am always a first time parent. I am always facing situations for the first time with him. Because of this, I make the most mistakes with him. I have the most “ooopps–that wasn’t the best option” moments. I think we all know what those moments are like.
And this leads me to the message of my post. Forgive yourself. Yes, you make mistakes. You need to move past them. Learn what you can, apologize if needed (it isn’t always), forgive yourself, and put it behind you. Don’t stress about it! Children are resilient. Children are incredibly forgiving. Children can and will survive the many mistakes we make as parents (now, this is of course referring to normal, everyday mistakes parents make, not serious actions).
Don’t let fear of mistakes paralyze you. Do what you think is best at the moment. If you find that wasn’t best, learn from it and tweak your strategy in for the next time. When you make a mistake, it isn’t as though you are thinking to yourself, “Ha ha! I am going to do XYZ because that will really take things in the wrong direction!” No! You are thinking, “I am going to do XYZ because I think that is best for my child.” If you find it wasn’t, offer yourself grace and take the lesson learned, act on it, and move forward. Your child will learn from your mistakes as well–it is a great gift for your child to see that you are not perfect and that mistakes are a normal part of life. Your children will forgive you, and you should, too.
Wondering why you should bother with forgiveness? Read this post on Why Bother to Forgive Others? (that includes yourself!)