One Parenting Phrase Turns My Stomach Every Time I Hear It

By  | 


As much as we joke about the perils of parenting here on Mommyish, we also spend a great deal of time dissecting good and bad parenting strategies and what it actually takes to be a good parent. As I’ve heard quite a few readers express, those that are actually worried about whether or not they will be a good parent are the ones who will probably be a good parent—because they care.

I can confidently say that I, along with the good readers of Mommyish, care a lot about being a good parent. Otherwise, why would I spend the majority of my day writing and commenting on parenting blogs (besides sheer entertainment)?

The thing is, no matter how hard you try to be a good parent, the odds are that your kids are probably going to turn around and have beef with you somewhere on down the line. Whether it was because you wouldn’t let them have a later curfew on the weekend or because you didn’t handle your divorce as well as you could have, your kids may want to have a serious conversation with you as adults.

Please listen to them. My mom admittedly made a lot of parenting mistakes throughout my childhood, and we are just now repairing our relationship. I have great respect for her because she is constantly willing to listen to anything that I have to say about how I was hurt or mistreated as a child—and she takes it seriously.

What she does not say is this: I did my best.

At face value, this may seem like a totally appropriate thing to tell your kids when they tell you what you did wrong, but it absolutely is not, and I will tell you why. My mom has also shared with me how she has had friendly confrontations with my grandmother about her own childhood issues. Unfortunately, my grandma wasn’t as willing to be open as my mom has been, and she glossed over many things by saying, “I did my best.”

When I hear this parenting excuse, that’s all it is to me—an excuse. Instead of validating a child’s feelings, even if you don’t agree with them, a parent is essentially patting their kid on the head and saying, “There, there, I’m sorry you’re upset, but I did my best.”

To me, this excuse sounds defensive at best. Even if a parent doesn’t agree with their child’s perception of a situation, it is always in a child’s best interest to acknowledge and validate how they are feeling. So, if you feel like your child is totally off base in accusing you of being a bad parent at one time or another, it’s time to swallow your pride and be a parent yet again.

Pages: 1 2