Often when parents are struggling with children with emotional or behavioral issues, the parents will doubt their abilities as a parent, blame themselves and feel guilty.  This may be an indication that professional help is needed.  Parents who are hard on themselves may also be hard on their children.  The fact is life is a learn-as-you-go experience and so is parenting.  When we can admit we don’t know everything and maybe we have made mistakes, but we are willing and open to learn, then there is hope.

Many of you have probably never dealt with your issues from your past, but you are expecting yourself to know how to help your child.  Just as they say on the airplane that you need to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you put one on your child, dealing with your issues from your past will also help you better address and understand your child’s issues.  Often these troubling situations are an opportunity that gets our attention in a way that we will look back on and be grateful for later.

Parents who feel guilty about something from the past regarding their children, will often be inconsistent and give in for the wrong reasons.  I recommend that if a parent feels guilty about something, deal with it straight on.  Express your feelings with your child and move on into the present moment.  If you did something in the past you are not proud of; get some help in dealing with this issue.  It will be more beneficial for you, and your child’s future ability to become a responsible adult, by you being a parent with healthy boundaries now.  Parenting with guilt only encourages manipulative behavior patterns, and can result in children unable to transition into responsible adults.

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1130 E. Missouri Ave., Bldg. 500, Suite
500, Phoenix, AZ 85014
(Northwest corner of 12th St. and Missouri Ave.)

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Tel: (602) 471-1249
Fax: (602) 246-9580

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Gail Newman , M.C., L.P.C.
Gail Newman , M.C., L.P.C.

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