Episode 50- 3 ways to handle the mom guilt.
Jan 18, 2021
I know and you know you have no reason to feel guilty. About the year they’ve had, about the pandemic, about their feelings of isolation, about their grades, and the list can go on.
BUT I also know the feeling as a mom of wanting so desperately to save my kids any heartache or hardship. It hurts my heart to see them struggle. But that is the thing….they need to struggle to learn and become resourceful, resilient, strong, and successful. That is the juxtaposition.
Here are three tactics I’ve used to put that mom guilt back in the box when she surfaces.
This article goes into some of the adult child types that may trigger manipulation.
- Meet Slug: The Adult Child Who Pushes Our Hope Button
- Meet Clueless: The Adult Child Who Pushes Our Fear Button
- Meet Carefree: The Adult Child Who Pushes Our Guilt Button
- Meet Clinger: The Adult Child Who Pushes Our Sympathy Button
- Meet TNT: The Adult Child Who Pushes Our Intimidation Button
Great response from Dave Ramsey.
The researchers found that habitual guilt was higher for women than men in all three age groups, with the biggest gap in the 40- to 50-year-old range. This age corresponds to the "sandwich generation" years, in which many people juggle taking care of teenagers with staying connected to aging parents.
- Look for the evidence….take your own inventory and ask others. If you feel guilty because you think you’re "not doing enough", take a few minutes to list all the things that you do for others.Keep the list in a place that is easy to pull out and revisit when guilt peeks its head out. Ask the people you think you’re neglecting whether they actually feel neglected. Chances are they don’t. Sit with their response if they say yes and consider whether they tend to expect too much and not take enough responsibility for themselves (e.g., teenagers who expect you to pick up after them). Then, think about how an outside observer would view the situation. If you genuinely determine that you really aren’t doing enough after an unemotional self-evaluation, then come up with some solutions or compromises that balance everybody's needs.
- Appreciate yourself and all that you do. Write a “self-gratitude” diary at start of each day, noting at least three things you did the day before that furthered your goals or helped someone you care about. It is recommended you review what you’ve written at the end of each week. Guilt and perfectionism have a negative bias. They make you focus on what you’re not doing right. By making notes like recommended, you can overcome this bias and instead refocus on your accomplishments.
- Think about how you would see things if the roles were reversed. Would you think your friend or partner wasn't doing enough, given all they had going on? We often find it easy to be compassionate and understanding with others but are too harsh on ourselves. By deliberately taking the other person's perspective, you’ll likely see your situation in a more objective light.
Don’t Take Responsibility for Your Child’s Behavior
When your child acts out or misbehaves, it can become a habit to say things to yourself like this:
- “It’s my fault she lies—I spoiled her and allowed her to get away with too much when she was younger.”
- “It’s my fault he’s rude to his grandparents—I wasn’t able to teach him good manners.”
- “It’s my fault his grades are bad—I should have worked harder with him every night.”
- “It’s my fault she stays out past curfew—I allowed her too much freedom after my divorce because I felt guilty about breaking up the family.”
Understand that when you blame yourself, you’re taking responsibility for your child’s behavior instead of holding them accountable for their behavior.
This is important to understand: your child is responsible for their behavior, not you. Unfortunately, your guilt sends the message to your child that you are willing to take responsibility for their behavior.
Don’t do it! It’s not good for you, and it’s not good for your child.
It’s OK to Let Your Child Struggle
It’s painful to see our children struggle. Just as you faced difficulties growing up and learned how to take responsibility, so will your child need to learn those same lessons.
Along the way, your child will face some challenges and disappointments. But if they’re not allowed to face those difficulties, they’ll never develop into an adult who’s able to take responsibility and deal with life’s ups and downs. Instead, they’ll always look for a scapegoat.