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    TTBB
    Participant

    At the end of a long day with my children- working hard to be a good mother to them- I very often find myself feeling guilty.

    After they are in bed, I start thinking:” Maybe I was too tough with this one?”, “Maybe I was not loving enough to the other one?”, “Maybe I was too self absorbed and not attentive enough?”

    I also feel guilty when I have to be tough with one of my children who constantly comes out of bed at night- until I am tough and then he will finally stay in bed  -but then I feel guilty for not ending off the day with him in a positive way.

    Are there other mothers out there who can relate to this feeling?

     

     

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    DDD
    Participant

    Although I am not a mother I can relate to what you are saying as I do feel that way often as well. Dr. David Lieberman discusses this in his lecture series and books. He says that the feeling of guilt is your empathy with the other person, in your case your child; you are actually feeling his/her pain, feeling as if you just were the one yelled at. I believe there are two types of scenarios you can be describing; one is a toughness that comes from a personal frustration which is not in anyones best interest; the other is appropriate and necessary toughness which comes in a measured way having the child’s best interest in mind. I will elaborate…

    In the case where it comes from Mom’s personal frustrations, the best approach he says is to actually go through the very steps of teshuva. First, accept and admit that you made a mistake, you wish you hadn’t yelled/been tough at the child and then accept upon yourself to do what you can to avoid it in the future. We are all human and slip up from time to time but just acknowledging you made a mistake and wish to change can give you much peace of mind. The natural way is to try and rationalize why what we did was right and manipulate the world around that but we all know that doesn’t lead to peace of mind… just more frustration and aggravation. This isn’t easy! But it’s something that gets easier the more one does it! As chazal and psychologists say “cells that fire together, wire together”; if you can hold up getting angry for about 30 days you can literally change your natural tendency.

    It is also important to note, being firm with a child has a time and place but it should be an objectively decided measure, not coming from your personal frustrations; and in such a case you would not feel the same guilt, you’d feel like a devoted and caring parent having your child’s best interest in mind.

    Best of luck being the best Mom out there for your children! Your desire to become just that is incredible and the first step towards getting there!

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    TTBB
    Participant
    Topic Author

    Thank you so much for your excellent response! Everything you said resonates well with me. I truly appreciate your insights.

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    alwaysworried
    Participant

    This is a really good question. I like how you differentiated between the 2 types of scenarios that trigger guilt. I usually just try to rationalize my guilt but i see that there is a reason for the guilt sometimes and that can be dealt with in a way to make us better people. The second scenario would be when its premeditated to serve a beneficial purpose and I would venture to guess that the feeling of guilt wouldn’t be as strong if it would even be there at all. great insight.

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    Dr. Joanne Royer
    Participant

    @TTBB what’s the feeling you’d rather have than guilt. Our emotions are tied to how we are thinking. If you could choose any feeling what would it be and what would be the thought about your parenting to help connect to that feeling.

    What would the thought “I was good enough, tonight”

    I love how you described your “firmness” and then your child listened.  Can you be firm and loving and the same time? Sounds like you were. The great thing about communication on matter the age, as you always get a do-over. You can always check in with your son or daughter. “I felt as though I was a bit tough last night, what did you think” or “knowing the rule is you need to stay in your room at night (I’m making this up), what would be a better way to remind you so that you can follow the rule? of course depending on their age, but 5 and up you may want to give this a try. But guilt is what you choose. So perhaps ask yourself what feeling would you rather choose instead?

     

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    Dr. Joanne Royer
    Participant

    @TTBB sorry I didn’t finish my thought! LOL.

    I meant to say, if you chose to have the thought “I was a good enough parent tonight”, how would that feel (and would you believe it, that’s the next question).

    So great you are aware of all of this…but parenting is a journey, relationships are a journey and children show all our imperfections (and we are afterall human) – how would you deal with their imperfections? can you be as accepting and loving to your imperfections as you most likely are to your little ones? Tomorrow you get to start all over again! YAY!

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    TTBB
    Participant
    Topic Author

    Thank you for your encouragement. I will try these tips next time and I hope to share my successes:-)

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    OnAndonAnon
    Participant

    @TTBB, so…?

    Do any of you guys follow Sarah Chana Radcliffe on Facebook? I truly appreciate her parenting tips.

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