Don't Be Hard On Yourself

Question: Why do you think parents are so quick to criticize themselves? What is the source of the self-doubt you mentioned?

Answer: It is a cultural phenomenon. Mothers, especially, have been blamed for everything that can conceivably go wrong with children. Even when their love and commitment are incalculable, the experts accuse them of making grievous errors in toilet training, disciplining, feeding, medicating, and educating their youngsters. They are either overpossessive or undernurturing. Their approach is either harsh or permissive. One psychiatrist even wrote an entire book on the dangers of religious training, blaming parents for scaring kids with talk of the next world. Thus, no matter how diligently Mom approaches her parenting responsibilities, she is likely to be accused of twisting and warping her children.

Perhaps this explains why women are more critical of themselves than men. Eighty percent of the respondents to our poll were women, and their most frequent comment was "I'm a failure as a mother!" What nonsense! Women have been taught to think of themselves in this way, and it is time to set the record straight.

The task of procreation was never intended to be so burdensome. Of course it is demanding. And children are challenging, to be sure. But the guilt and self-doubt that often encumber the parenting responsibility are not part of the divine plan. Throughout the Scriptures, the raising of children is presented as a wonderful blessing from God--a welcome, joyful experience. And today, it remains one of the greatest privileges in living to bring a baby into the world to love and care for. What a wonderful opportunity it is to teach these little ones to revere God with all their hearts and to serve others throughout their lives. There is no higher calling than that!

The The Complete Marriage and Family Home Reference Guide

By Dr. James Dobson

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