Do you feel ashamed of how you parent?

Sometimes when we feel we need help with parenting, we go searching for a solution to try to fix what we perceive we are doing ‘wrong’. When we feel we are ‘wrong’, we can feel unfixable, ashamed and worried about being found out for being a bad parent or person, because we didn’t know how to parent the ‘right’ way, and if that feeling is in one area of our lives, there may be a sense that it is in every area of our lives. That ‘negative thinking’ spiral condemns us to ‘think’ there is no redemption for us.

Feeling ashamed of how we parent is so damaging and disabling, it can feel like there is no place to go. How long has ‘being wrong’ been part of our lives? Could it be such a familiar feeling because we felt it throughout our childhood, in our education, in our families where we always seemed to be ‘wrong’ and needed to be told how to be ‘right’?

‘Right’ and ‘wrong’ feed shame and shame puts you at the mercy of a model that will keep you searching for answers forever.

Shame is debilitating. It cuts you off at the knees, you literally cannot move if you feel ashamed of how you parent. It shuts the door to any loving relationship with yourself and any open relationship you have with another. You cannot let someone in too close to you because they may see or feel the shame you carry below the surface. It is unspeakable, so we bury it and think we are the only ones who feel like this. From that point onwards, you are at the mercy of other people telling you how should live your life and how you can fix all the things where you are ‘wrong’, if you listen to them. You are now a marketers' dream because you will buy whatever they say is going to be your magic pill to change your perceived failure in parenting and relationships into a success.

For this ‘Shame Business’ to be viable it needs you to be broken, if you are not broken you won’t buy their ‘product’, their ‘magic pill’. They want you to keep searching for answers and coming back for more. They want you to feel ashamed. It is a perilous cycle of abuse you are told is inescapable. It encourages you to live the lie that you need help, that you need support, because you’re ‘lacking’ the ‘right’ answers.

This business model only works if you buy into that story of ‘shame’, if you believe the lies.

How we parent can be very unique and is often based on multiple factors, from our own experiences of being parented and how we see and perceive ‘family’ to be. Whatever our background experiences are, they will all impact how we parent our children. It is true to say we may want some support with parenting if we have not had a model of what we deem ‘healthy parenting’ in our upbringing. Yet we are being called to develop rich relationships which starts with the relationship we have with ourselves first and not how to have control and mastery over each other based on age. For example, if we base our parenting success on our child’s behaviours and someone else’s opinion then we are indeed at the mercy of the ‘shame business’ and headfirst we fall into the google marketing machine. If we see that each and every one of us communicates extremely well in every moment, we can see/appreciate that it is more a question of applying the very simple standards of remembering how to listen with our whole body and to build relationships based on decency and respect.

From that space you are not looking outwards for your answers, you are going inwards first and then you will know if someone is making you less in what they are offering in terms of support.

So, give no more space to the lies that you are ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, or the scourge of shame, see the pattern for what it is and give it no more power. You are far more powerful than it.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash


Further reading

Playfulness in Parenting

Helpful advice or criticism

Our internal bully