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Coping with Parental Guilt: How Self-Compassion Can Help

Jun 12, 2024

Ever look back on a day and think, "Wow, I really dropped the ball as a parent today?" If your answer is yes, welcome to the club we all reluctantly belong to - the Guilt Ridden Parents Society. Guilt seems to be an inescapable part of parenting, whether it's because we lost our temper, didn't attend that school event or allowed a bit too much screen time. 

Today, we are going to get into the meat of the matter: Coping with parental guilt through self-compassion. This is a big topic, and it's close to many of our hearts. So, let's dive in shall we?

First things first - why does parental guilt seem like a permanent companion? Well, you're responsible for another human being and that's massive. You're navigating a complex labyrinth of decisions and actions that will influence your child's wellbeing. A single misstep can often feel like a colossal failure. 

When you're caught in the whirlpool of guilt, self-compassion can be your lifebuoy. What is self-compassion? It's the act of treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you would offer to a good friend in times of failure or inadequacy.

Instead of harsh self-criticism, self-kindness is about understanding your imperfections. Nobody, not even the Pinterest Perfect Parents, get it right all the time. 

Realise you're not alone. Parenting is a challenge for everyone, and everyone makes mistakes.  

Mindfulness involves observing your thoughts and feelings without judgement. Acknowledge your shortcomings without allowing them to define you. 

Practical Ways to Practice Self-Compassion 

The forgiveness letter -  Write a letter to yourself, forgiving yourself for a parenting moment you regret. You'd write one to a friend, so why not to yourself?

Daily affirmations - Remind yourself of your value as a parent. "I am doing my best, and that's enough" can be a powerful phrase to keep in your arsenal. 

The joy journal -  Take a few minutes each day to jot down what went right. It's easy to forget the good moments when guilt clouds your mind. 

Professional help - Sometimes guilt can be overwhelming, affecting your mental wellbeing. It's okay to see professional guidance to learn coping mechanisms. 

Your Reflection Corner

When was the last time you felt a strong sense of guilt related to parenting? Could self-compassion have alleviated that guilt?

What's one self-compassion practice you can start incorporating into your daily routine?

 Parenting is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be times when you stumble, maybe even fall. But practicing self-compassion will help you get back up with renewed strength and wisdom. After all, the best thing you can do for your kids is to be a whole, well-balanced individual yourself. 

Until next month, go easy on yourselves. You're doing better than you think. 

All my best,


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