Childrearing

One Parenting Phrase Turns My Stomach Every Time I Hear It

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Just because you hear your child out and validate their feelings and even apologize when needed doesn’t take away from the effort you put forth as a parent. Sure, it can feel discouraging and even devastating to have someone pick apart your hard work. But this is the time to remember that you are dealing with a child, and you are still the parent, no matter how old they may be.

Like I said, my mom has made mistakes, and some of them damaged our relationship in the past. But in the present day, she is doing something right. She is more than willing to be open about any issues that I may have had with her, and she listens to me, and she apologizes. Even better, she isn’t threatened by my accusations in the least. She doesn’t push aside my feelings by saying that she did her best. She admits fault, even if it makes her look bad, and that in turn has taught me how to deal with my mistakes as an adult.

It may be tempting to tell your child that you did your best because you probably did. But when your child comes to you with an issue, no matter how small or how big, that is the time to honor their feelings—not defend yourself.

I’m currently estranged from my dad because of many, many unresolved childhood issues. I was recently googling estranged parents and children, and I came across a support forum for adult children who are estranged from their parents.

I will tell you one thing that I noticed that stuck out like a sore thumb. Whenever these adult children were relating stories about how their relationships with their parents were severed, the parents were never willing to admit fault.

In some stories, the parents were outright hostile and violent. But in many stories, the parents were simply defensive and deluded. Even if a child felt deeply hurt and was reaching out to a parent for help or comfort, some parents wouldn’t budge. They were convinced that they did their best, no matter what it cost them.

(photo: Getty Images)

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