Anxiety is a difficult thing to overcome. 15 percent of American adults report feeling anxiety over two weeks. That’s more than 30 million people. One contributor to anxiety disorders is parenting. Feeling like a failure as a parent causes extreme distress.
But feeling like a failure can be overcome. It takes time and persistence. But you can reach the roots of where your feelings come from and resolve them.
Start improving your mental health today. Here is what you can do when you feel like your parenting could use a boost.
Acknowledge What You Are Feeling
It may sound counterintuitive. But acknowledging that you feel like you have failed as a parent can help you feel better.
Many people deny that they are feeling sad or anxious. This prolongs their feelings because they don’t pursue a way of moving past their emotions.
Sit down with yourself and look within. Put your feelings in your own words. It may take some time to express what exactly you feel.
If it helps, you can talk out loud or write your thoughts down. As you’re describing your feelings, see if you can find a source for them. It may be an isolated incident, or it may be a series of events.
You may become emotional, wanting to scream or cry. Always honor your emotions and allow yourself to express them. Getting your feelings out of you will provide relief and give you a clear head.
Once you’ve found a source, start to find a solution. Don’t rush things.
If you don’t have a solution, that’s okay. Just giving awareness to the source of your concern will have you beginning to address it in the slightest ways. Give yourself time.
Think About Your Kids
Many parents feel inadequate after they make a mistake around their kids. They may yell at them, causing their kids to burst into tears.
But children are willing to forgive their parents. Despite their temper tantrums, they love you deep down. Every parent makes mistakes and needs to start over tomorrow. There is no shame in that.
Touch base with your kids. Many young children are perceptive yet unwilling to express themselves. Give them space where they can talk about what they may be feeling.
If you made a mistake, apologize. Promise them that you will learn and not make the same mistake again. Once acknowledged, release it without guilt.
If you feel comfortable, tell your children what you are feeling. This helps you get your feelings in order. This also demonstrates to your kids that it is okay to feel negative things sometimes and it’s okay to apologize when we make a mistake or have a bad day.
You can make as many mistakes as you want. The key is that you learn from your mistakes.
Think about what you may have done that has you feeling like you failed. Then pinpoint a few actions you could have made that would have avoided the mistake. The next time that situation presents itself, complete those actions.
If you’re struggling to think of solutions, do some research. You can take a parenting class or find parenting tips for yourself.
Don’t focus on the problem too much. Focus on the solutions you can take to fix the problem.
For everything you do wrong, you do a lot of things right. Take pride in the accomplishments of your children. Note how they do well in school and make friends.
Think about your personal and professional accomplishments. You provide for your family and for your spouse. You are respected and loved.
Think about your friend circle. You support your friends, and they support you.
Write down your major accomplishments and keep them by you. When you’re feeling inadequate one day, read through your accomplishments again. Make sure to leave room on the page so you can add new ones.
Take a Break
Taking a break can help you clear your head and shift your mind away from your feelings of inadequacy. You don’t have to go on an expensive vacation to take a break.
Go for a drive before arriving home from work. Listen to your favorite music or podcast. Take in some natural wonders or a beautiful skyline.
Call in a babysitter and go to a restaurant for dinner. Head out to the movies. Spend quality time reconnecting with your partner.
Having fun with your kids is a great way to boost your self-esteem. Head to a playground or museum. Share an experience with them that you will all remember.
Talk to Someone
You are not alone in what you are feeling. Touch base with your partner or co-parent. They may be feeling the same thing as you, and you can work together to address your emotions.
If you don’t feel comfortable turning to your partner, turn to a friend. Meet in private and have a dialogue about what is going on. They can offer you suggestions to help you cope.
Feeling like a parenting failure can be disturbing in and of itself. It can also be a sign of a mental health condition. Constant anxiety over your parenting is a common sign of generalized anxiety disorder.
If you have constant feelings of failure, talk to a therapist. Your conversations with them are confidential and personalized. You can talk about what you want to talk about.
It may be helpful to engage in family therapy. A therapist can meet with you, your spouse, and your children at the same time. You can all learn strategies for improving your mental health, like deep breathing to relieve stress.
When You Are Feeling Like a Failure as a Parent
You do not have to be feeling like a failure as a parent. Your first step is to recognize what you are feeling and why.
Think about how you provide for your kids. Recognize that you have made mistakes, but learn from them and affirm yourself. Take pride in your many accomplishments.
Take a break if you need to clear your head. If you can’t shake your feelings, turn to someone for help.
Keep reading advice from experts. Sue Donnellan is one of the Internet’s leading parenting guides. Read my best-selling book, Secrets to Parenting Without Giving a F^ck.