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How We Mess Up As Parents – And Learn From It

OK, since I know you are all smart perfect parents out there, you can probably skip this post.  No?  OK, we parents don’t always like to admit it, but we do make mistakes.  Sometimes, we are wrong when our kids are right.  We are the ones that make a mess of things!  I’m not trying to give anyone a complex, just getting down to the truth of parenting.  It’s tough and full of, ahem, “learning opportunities” for us.

My Parenting Confession

One of mine has been assuming (pretending) I don’t have a bias. It’s tough since the emerging differences among my children are only becoming more apparent as they grow up.  One simply has an easier time following directions the first time (less resistance, better focus), another needs much more follow through when I give directions (distractible), and another simply likes to go her own way no matter how I give my directions (independent and not afraid to assert it).  These are all wonderful traits in different contexts, but this also sets me up somewhat.

I want to be able to treat them the same and have it work out fine.  Yeah, I want them to all be easy-breezy compliant, much like my middle one. But that doesn’t automatically mean she’s always right either.  Sometimes she does dumb stuff that I don’t know about right away because she doesn’t make a fuss.

When I don’t allow for their personal needs and differences, I often go overboard in the wrong ways with each of them.  Too heavy handed, not firm or focused enough, etc.  It always goes better when I put their needs ahead of mine.  And of course, being consistent with that seems to help.

Your Parenting Confessions

So what are your biggest parenting mistakes?  Are they individual instances or patterns over a long period of time?  What do you wish you had the chance to do differently? We aren’t going to flog anyone with 50 lashes for confessing parenting mistakes!  If they would just give us an instruction manual at the hospital (or even before that), maybe we’d do better?  Or maybe not – mistakes are awfully good teachers over time.

Creative Commons License photo credit: striatic

How We Mess Up As Parents – And Learn From It

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP is a practicing licensed mental health counselor in Nebraska.

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APA Reference
Krull, E. (2010). How We Mess Up As Parents – And Learn From It. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 13, 2020, from


Last updated: 25 May 2010
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