By Karen Ryce
Q: “What do you do about your guilt and remorse over past parental mistakes?”
J.D., Briceland, CA
A: Forgiveness. It can help to remember that at the time, given who you were, given the information you had, given your circumstances, you did the best you knew how.
Now with different information, different circumstances, a different you, you parent differently and some of what you did in the past looks like mistakes. Maybe it was, but it is past.
Perhaps you gave your children the chance for greater compassion because of what they suffered. There might be lessons they needed to learn and what you did was part of their learning them.
Think as positively as you can about what has already happened. Be your own best friend and always give yourself the benefit of the doubt. At that time you did not think you were committing mistakes, maybe you weren’t.
You might also check with your children, even if they are now adults. If they agree that you committed parenting mistakes, ask them for forgiveness; ask if there is anything you can do now to help repair any damage you may have unknowingly done. Then do it. Ask them to help you make sure that you don’t continue any of the mistaken parenting patterns you started in the past.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Karen Ryce, the Miracle Worker of Education and Parenting, has used the Power of Respect for more than 35 years. She started a Montessori school in 1973, gives talks and workshops to parents and teachers.