The Wider Angle | Guilty as Charged

A Quote: The mark of a successful man [or woman] is one that has spent an entire day on the bank of a river without feeling guilty about it. – Author Unknown

Being a fellow John Rosemond fan, I love Liz’s perspective on the guilt that plagues us.  Ironically enough, I just cracked open my own Parent Power book last night and found a solution (I hope) to some behavior issues I’ve been having with Kylie lately.  As it turns out, her lack of self control has a bit to do with MY lack of control over the situation.  Now I feel like I have the tools to help her, which will most certainly help me too.  As long as I don’t second guess myself for all the other things I feel guilty about…..

As a Catholic and an over-achiever, guilt has plagued me for a long time. In fact, it’s almost a badge of honor that we like to joke about, though Catholics don’t corner the market on it. As a matter of fact, I have a discovered there is a population of guilt-ridden folks who put Catholics to shame: mothers.

I don’t know if guilt flows through the umbilical cord or not, but the feelings certainly start in utero. Should I have had that glass of wine? I fell asleep on my back! I licked the bowl after baking brownies! And those are just the physical issues.

The psychology of guilt is much, much deeper. When I think back to my son’s infancy, when he was just a few weeks old and had colicky moments in the evenings, I still cringe at the thoughts that crossed my mind. Sleep deprivation will truly drive a person to distraction, so I don’t really hold myself accountable for those fleeting thoughts, particularly since I am so very clearly crazy about him now. So crazy, in fact, that I frequently find myself guilty of failing to be the disciplinarian I think I ought to be.

When I find myself straying into this guilt-ridden territory, I often crack open my favorite parenting tome, Parent Power by John Rosemond.  Mr. Rosemond is not for the faint of heart, and sometimes I take him with a grain of salt (I really cannot limit my children to one toy – but I do find that the fewer the toys, the more focused their play). Ultimately, though, I find his common sense approach jives with how my parents, and my in-laws, raised their children. Which is how I want to raise my own children. I want them to respect and obey their parents, teachers, and all other adults at all times. I want them to love their family and thus feel responsible for contributing to the family’s harmony and happiness. I want them to learn to be self-sufficient, including playing by themselves. I believe that if they manage to achieve these things, they will be confident, fulfilled individuals. And if that happens, I most definitely won’t feel any guilt.

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by Crystal

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