Have you looked back on your life and how you raised your children and wondered if you caused some of their problems? Do you kick yourself for not doing it differently and blame yourself for their life choices?
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You, Forgiveness and Children
There will be just as many who say no to this question as those who say yes. I am one who would answer yes. I always second guess my decisions when my kiddos were growing up. Then another time, I may justify how I raised them.
Do you love your children to your dying day? They are your whole world. You give them all you have inside of you forever and forever. But also provide them with money and monetary goods to make their life easier.
Over the decades, in each generation we raised our children differently. Baby boomers grew up more independent and wanted to change the world. Millennials were raised wanting the most of their life and always wanting to know why. You can’t even say that all of one generation will be the same. It changes because each child has an individual personality unique to them.
But we as parents want more for our children than what we had financially or emotionally. Either way, we try to decide how we can give them this more comfortable way of living or emotional support we did not have.
When your babies are born, you have emotions of excitement and fear. What is the right way to raise them? What if you fail your babies? How will you live the rest of your life knowing that you messed up? But you do the best you can because there is no cookie-cutter way to raise kids.
You work two jobs to give them what they want, what the other kids have, and what you feel they deserve. Working so much takes you away from home, and you’re not there to give them the love they need. But you know you have to work hard. You want to make life easier for them.
One day they will look back and appreciate everything you did for them. One day when they realize how hard you worked, they will respect you.
Just be a good parent and love them. How many times have you heard this said to you or someone else? You do love them more than your own life. You do your best and believe that to love them is enough. And the decisions you make are the best for them.
Is Love Enough?
But just loving them is not good enough. Today you have to deal with many stressors like two jobs to pay the bills, school functions, sports, name brand clothing, and the list can go on forever. There are tremendous pressures from the outside world. You want them to have what they want because you did not.
You do your very best and make decisions that you believe will benefit your kids in the long run. You hope that when they grow up, they will understand what you did for them and return the love and respect you gave them.
Then the day comes when each one moves from the home. Some become successful, and others drag their feet for the rest of their life. Some show respect and appreciate all you did for them. Yet others blame you for poor decisions they are making in life.
Have you heard, “if you spent more time with me, I wouldn’t be like this, or If you had let me go to parties, I wouldn’t feel the need to go now.”
Today I want to encourage all of the kind and loving parents out there who worked so hard to do what was right for their children. You made the best decisions that you could at the time, and you thought it would all be okay. I want to tell you that every parent makes mistakes that are big ones and small ones. Your struggles are real, and your fears are many, but you kept going. You didn’t give up and run away. You stayed and stuck it out.
From here, you have to forgive yourself for your mistakes and move forward to live your life. I don’t mean to move on from your children because they will always be your number one priority. I am saying move on from the heartache and the feeling, if only you had done differently. Move on from the guilt and blame that you place on yourself.
You can ask for forgiveness and then let go of the past. There are so many other factors in this world that influence your children. You cannot blame yourself for the choices they make when they have matured and are living their life.
You Did Your Best
Realize that you gave them the best you could at the time. If it was not good enough, then it is not on your shoulders. At some point in your kids’ lives they have to start taking responsibility for their actions. To blame you for their decisions will keep them from having to face life. And when you take on that blame, it will enable them.
Do forgive yourself and find peace in the truth that you did what you had to do, and when your children left your home, they could make their own decisions. You made your own choices when you moved out, and now it is their turn, right or wrong.
Now sit down, take a deep breath, and let go so your kiddos can also mature and grow into their full potential if they choose to take responsibility for their actions.
Have you been through this type of situation, and forgiving yourself is the hardest part? Please share your story with us. Leave all comments, questions, and stories in the comment section below. We would love to hear from you.
10 thoughts on “You, Forgiveness, and Children”
Such a well-written post here! Reading your article made me remember what I resent about my family in my childhood and early adulthood. I always try to remember what’s not good from them and try to apply it to my future children. I guess for me; forgiveness is still a long way but achievable. Thanks very much for making me think hard about my life.
Forgiveness is a continual process. We forgive then we take it back and need to forgive again. The more we practice it the better we get at doing it.
I know it is hard but I believe you will get there.
Hi! Raising our kids is a huge responsibility. And I have already felt this fear you mentioned in this article. But I@ think that we shouldn’t be lead by fear when we are raising them, because of that I could establish some sensitive tool so everyone would be smiling and happy
Hi Ann, I do agree that we should not raise our children with fear. But those who have had a poor upbringing will find it hard not to fear. They fear they too will be a bad parent. It is a fine line.
I think the forgiving of self is always the hardest part. We judge ourselves too harshly. It took me many years before I could forgive to move onto a different phase in my life. I finally realized the other person wasn’t suffering, only I was.
Children can be taught forgiveness, but as an adult, our ways are too set to change, unless we want to. Great article, thanks for sharing your words.
It sounds like you have a good handle on forgiveness. But remember we are never too old to change for the good.
It can be tough not to second guess yourself. It is important not to beat yourself up emotionally as that can significantly impact your mental health and thereby your future ability to love and engage with your family. Learn from mistakes; no one is perfect. We must learn to forgive others and often, more importantly, ourselves. I agree that you have to do your best by being the best parent you can be, and then Yes, at some point, you hope that they will choose to do what is right and good as that is how they will find true happiness. We are all free to make choices, but sometimes we don’t always like the consequences. It is worth the effort and struggles to be the best you can for your family.
It sounds like you have raised children. You are right we have to do our best for our family and hope they do well and make good choices.
Great post. You took a look at my heart and mind when I think about raising a kid. Day can’t pass that I don’t think about my parenting in past, where I made mistake and what I did right. When you ask friends about raising kids, everyone got different opinion. I use to accept advices in small pieces and put that pieces on places where I thought is right.
I am very satisfied with result today.
Natasa, I know we all think about our mistakes and our successes. It is human. It sounds like you did an excellent job, but you also raised a child who accepted your rules, and you raised him with respect. How our parents raised us does have an impact on what choices we make. I am so happy I could reach your heart — much love and hugs to you, my friend.