July 23, 2019
Parenting with Forethought: What to Do When You Make Mistakes
Written by Rachel Eddins
Parenting mistakes happen. Parenting with forethought simply means planning ahead. It’s an essential part of finding equilibrium when anxiety affects your parenting. It can often feel like you have to be ten steps ahead of whatever your child is thinking or doing at all times.
But as with most other areas of parenting (or life in general), you’re bound to make mistakes.
To be sure, all parents make mistakes, despite our best efforts. All the planning ahead in the world can’t always prepare you for what might happen. Sometimes, you need to adjust your plans and be adaptable to each individual situation.
So, what can you do when you make those mistakes? How can you continue moving forward and continue to parent with forethought?
Breathe and Let It Go
It’s important to “lighten up” when it comes to parenting with forethought. Again, some things will happen that will throw your plans off-track. Many times, your child will cause those plans to go awry.
Instead of losing it or getting upset with your child, consider that one of the biggest reasons we make such strict plans for our children is because of fear. We’re scared that they’ll never learn certain things, they’ll never get “on-track.” Or, that, if you don’t have the right routine or schedule, you’ll be a bad parent.
There is very little validity to any of those fears. It’s understandable to want the best for your child, but it needs to come with some flexibility.
If you’re truly doing the best you can, take that into consideration. Use it to encourage yourself and your child, not bring both of you down.
Don’t Be Too Proud to Apologize
Some parents have a hard time apologizing to their children when they make parenting mistakes. They fear it will cause the child to lose respect for them, or see them as less of an authority figure.
Actually, the opposite is true. When you’ve made a mistake with your child and you both recognize it, apologizing to them can actually encourage them to respect you more.
It also lets your child know that you respect their feelings, too, which can bring you closer and develop more trust.
Enjoy the Time With Your Child at Every Stage
When you’re so focused on parenting with forethought, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s going on in the present. Kids need us to enjoy the time we have with them, at every age. They want us to be present and be with them, not to manage them and their schedule.
All you really have to do to keep connecting with your child is to show up and be there for them. Play with them, learn with them, grow with them. Show them you have an interest in their lives in each moment. You’re not just preparing them for a future, you’re parenting them in the present.
It’s important for your child to know that they don’t have perfect parents. It’s a learning tool for them. Yes, they will see you make mistakes time and time again. It’s how you handle, repair them, and move on from the mistakes that will have the biggest impact on your child. So, try to let go of your fear of imperfection. And, release the intense worry about your child’s future.
They’ll get there with your help and guidance, yes. But, they’ll benefit more from your time, attention, and unconditional love than they will your attempts to be perfect. Accept the parenting mistakes, work through them, and continue to move forward. It could also be helpful to seek help from a qualified specialist. Eddins Counseling Group, in Houston, TX has many counselors that specialize in parenting concerns. Reach out today at 832-559-2622 or book an appointment online.