It’s a common fear that many mothers have, but acknowledge and even fewer talk about. The fear that because of how they mother, they are messing in their kids.
It can sound something like: I am scared that because of my anger, control, depression, perfection, relationships, self-esteem my children will end up in therapy one day.
Dealing with the Fear of Messing up Your Kids
#1: Take care of the mother-self – A recent article showed that children of mothers who went to therapy were better off than children of mothers who did not seek therapy.
In other words, allow yourself to work through your patterns, fears, or life challenges with a therapist. This will likely have a positive impact on your children. Your children thrive when you get the self-care you need!
#2: Unravel your inner perfectionist – How do you know if she exists? If she is still ruling you and she wants you to be the perfect mother who raises the perfect children who will become the perfect adults, no therapy is needed. Even if you are trying to course-correct old parenting philosophies you may have grown up with, your journey is about learning new ways.
Learning often comes with errors. Parenting is a unique human process and is anything but flawless. As you adopt positive parenting philosophies, you may, at times, slip back into “old ways”; you may mess up. Make peace with imperfection!
#3: Weave the web – Surround yourself with external support. Join a support group for mothers and educate yourself on topics related to motherhood, or stock up on parenting books and begin a mothering book club.
The point is to give yourself a safe place to be sharing the lessons and mistakes on your mothering journey with other mothers who are not hiding behind the “all-is-perfect” mask, and weave authentic support around you.
#4: Seek and tell – Seek the help you need for yourself first. Then learn to communicate to your children that seeking professional help is not an act of weakness but of strength.
When you start up a business, you may seek a business advisor. When you need a fitness plan, you may seek a personal trainer. When you want holistic care, you may seek a naturopath.
Communicate the benefits of professional help (including medical and mental health) throughout your life span so the barriers of fear or shame will not stop your children when they need it the most. Give them a verbal permission slip! They may be brave enough to use it one day.
Remember, by doing all our own self-work, we are healing our children, and healing the world.