Everybody makes mistakes. Every parent makes mistakes. And they aren’t always little ones. So, how do you recover and move on when you recognise that you’ve stuffed up?
- Start by treating yourself with compassion. Recognise that you aren’t alone. You are an imperfect human being, just like the rest of us and we all stuff things up sometimes.
- Reconnect with your values, the basic principles by which you’d like to live your life. For example, remind yourself of your desire to be a loving parent, or to be there for your child or to be open with your child. Ground yourself in what matters most to you.
- Gently and compassionately consider your mistake. What exactly do you regret doing or not doing?
- Consider, again gently and compassionately, how you came to make that mistake. What can that teach you about how to prevent making the same mistake again next time? For example, if stress played a role in your mistake, could you manage stressful days better? We are often most vulnerable to stuffing things up when we put too much pressure on ourselves, instead of recognising that we are only human.
- And what can you do, right now, to repair the damage? Or at least, to get back to acting from your values? What is the smallest step you could take?
- Finally, remember that your child too is an imperfect human. By handling your own mistakes with self-compassion, commitment to your values, and making amends, you are giving your child a precious life lesson. In this way, your child actually benefits from having an imperfect parent.
Apply it in your life: Next time you stuff things up, treat yourself gently and compassionately, reconnect with your values and make amends.